Enel Group’s Brazilian renewable energy subsidiary Enel Green Power Brasil (EGPB) has started commercial operations of the 716 MW Lagoa dos Ventos wind farm, which is the largest wind facility currently in operation in South America and Enel Green Power’s largest wind farm worldwide. The construction of the 716 MW facility, located in the municipalities of Lagoa do Barro do Piauí, Queimada Nova and Dom Inocêncio, in Brazil’s northeastern state of Piauí, involved an investment of around 3 billion Brazilian reais, equivalent to around 620 million euros at the current exchange rate.
“Lagoa dos Ventos is a record-breaking wind project and its start of commercial operations is an important milestone for Enel Green Power worldwide, especially in light of the challenges of the global health scenario,” said Salvatore Bernabei, CEO of Enel Green Power and Head of Enel’s Global Power Generation business line. “As our largest wind facility in the world, Lagoa dos Ventos represents a significant step forward for our sustainable growth, while also supporting the green recovery in Brazil, further contributing to the diversification of the country’s energy mix.”
The 716 MW Lagoa dos Ventos, which is now fully up and running, is comprised of 230 wind turbines and will be able to generate over 3.3 TWh per year while avoiding the emission of over 1.9 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Out of the wind farm’s total installed capacity, 510 MW were awarded to Enel Green Power in Brazil’s A-6 public tender in December 2017 and is supported by 20-year power supply contracts with a pool of distribution companies operating in the country’s regulated market, while the output from the remaining 206 MW will be delivered to the free market for sale to retail customers, leveraging Enel’s integrated presence in the country.
In December 2020, Enel announced the start of construction of the new 396 MW Lagoa dos Ventos III wind project. With the new wind farm, which will require an investment of around 360 million euros, the total capacity of Lagoa dos Ventos will reach around 1.1 GW. The entire wind complex will have 302 wind turbines and will be able to generate around 5.0 TWh annually, avoiding the emission of over 2.8 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.
Given the large scale of the project, EGPB designed an innovative plant layout based on a high-resolution wind resource assessment to optimize Lagoa dos Ventos’s energy output. In addition, EGPB used a variety of innovative tools and methods to build the project, such as proximity sensors on machinery to boost site safety, drones for topographic survey, smart tracking of wind turbine components, advanced digital platforms and software solutions to monitor and remotely support site activities and plant commissioning, as well as a specific tool for wind turbine generator erection schedule optimization. These processes and tools enabled swifter, more accurate and reliable data collection, improving the quality of construction and facilitating communication between on-site and off-site teams. The company also implemented initiatives in line with EGP’s “Sustainable Construction Site” model, such as water saving and recycling as well as lighting efficiency measures.
During the construction of the 716 MW Lagoa dos Ventos facility, rigorous safety protocols were implemented, in light of the pandemic and in line with the indications provided by health authorities, with the aim to ensure the necessary protection to the workers involved in the construction as well as to the communities where the park is installed. The same protocols are also being implemented in the construction of the new Lagoa dos Ventos III wind facility. The company has established strict guidelines for travel, which include preventive quarantine when workers move to cities outside the construction site region, increased sanitization of facilities, vehicles and environments on construction sites, as well as measures to ensure safe work practices. On the construction sites, the routine of the teams and operations were structured to maintain social distancing. Enel Green Power has also been carrying out massive testing campaigns involving all employees working on the construction sites.
In Brazil, the Enel Group, through its subsidiaries EGPB and Enel Brasil, has a total renewable installed capacity of over 3.7 GW, of which 1,498 MW are wind, 979 MW solar and 1,269 MW hydroelectric.