The government of Brazil is beginning to realize that harnessing the country’s ample wind power potential is a good way to reduce its heavy dependence on hydropower.RIO DE JANAIRO, Brazil 2002-03-25 [SolarAccess.com] Wind power, which was virtually ignored by Latin America’s number one economy until energy rationing measures were put into effect last June, has suddenly begun to draw new attention. The National Agency of Electrical Energy, the government’s regulatory agency, approved 43 projects for wind power plants in December, to be built by 2005. Wind energy, which currently has the capacity to generate just 21.2 MW, 0.03 percent of Brazil’s total installed electricity-generating capacity, will thus expand to 3,728 MW making the country one of the five leading wind power-producing countries in the world. Several arguments have stood in the way of developing wind power in Brazil including the belief held until a few years ago that the country did not have enough wind to generate significant amounts of energy. Later, it was said that there was not enough equipment on the international market to meet demand. The last argument was that Brazil would not be able to find interested investors. But studies have found that Brazil has excellent wind power potential, especially in the arid northeast. The best quality winds, which are strong and regular, can generate 60,000 MW, said Feitosa. The country currently generates 75,400 MW, 90 percent of which is produced by hydropower. The eagerness with which Spanish, French, German and Brazilian companies have presented projects for exploiting wind power in this country of 170 million has clearly demonstrated that lack of investment is not a real obstacle either.