Brazil's Wind Energy Auction an Investor Opportunity

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"80% of the investment required to satisfy Brazil's growing energy needs will come from the private sector!"

Brazil's minister of mines and energy, Edison Lob„o, called wind energy the "princess of alternative energy" this week. In fact, I'm hearing enthusiasm for wind energy development in my conversations with government officials, industry heads, and beach bums alike.

And I have an idea who the "prince" of Brazilian renewables may be.

Right near where I am in Copacabana, there's an outcropping where the wind whips around so hard that the beautiful bossa nova music you hear while sitting on the rocks could be your last tune. . .if you decide to take a swim.

That dance of the wind and water extends from the seashores into the depths of the Amazon, where flow-of-stream hydropower is supplanting dam construction as the most environmentally friendly method of bringing electricity to underserved regions.

Lauro Fiuza, head of the Brazilian Wind Energy Association, pointed out this week at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum that hydropower wanes to 50% of capacity in the second half of every year.

That's right when wind energy picks up, so Brazil's national bank for development, BNDES, is funding up to 80% of projects to tie hydro and wind in a comprehensive power program.

It's all part of ProInfa, the government's national plan for expanding alternative electricity resources.

Brazil is committed to leading the Latin America-Caribbean region in renewable energy's contribution to skyrocketing industrial and household demand.

Residential electricity demand in the LAC region is expected to quadruple by 2030, according to Lori Kerr of the Inter-American Development Bank. That includes more rural households coming online and urban households in developing countries being able to afford more electronic equipment by the year.

Here's the kicker, though. . . While BNDES and other government support structures are very important to creating concerted national energy strategies, the IADB pegs private investment as the key factor.

80% of the investment required to satisfy Brazil's growing energy needs will come from the private sector! $1.8 trillion is needed in infrastructure development alone by 2030.

That means stock opportunities for international investors who take the trends as seriously as locals do.

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