France's Alstom opens its first Brazil wind turbine plant
French engineering group Alstom moved to capitalize on a booming Brazilian wind energy market by inaugurating a new wind turbine manufacturing plant in northeastern Bahia state Wednesday, its first in Latin America.
The plant, built with an initial investment of 20 million euros ($26 million dollars), is located in Camacari, an industrial complex near Bahia's state capital Salvador and will have a production capacity of 300 MW.
Alstom, already a world leader in the hydro-electric energy market, said the Camacari plant, which will initially bring 150 direct jobs and 500 indirect ones, will assemble ECO 86 turbines adapted for medium-high wind conditions and for the complex coastal geography of the region.
Marcos Costa, a top executive with Alstom Latin America, described Brazil as one of the fastest growing markets for wind power.
"One of the greatest potential is in the northeastern region and Bahia is one of the most promising states," he added at the ceremony also attended by Bahia state governor Jaques Wagner.
"Brazil needs investment in electricity in line with its economic development and social progress," Patrick Kron, Alstom chief executive officer, told AFP at the ceremony.
"Wind power today represents only a modest fraction of total capacity but this fraction should normally grow very quickly," he added. "That's why we decided to build here a plant to serve the domestic market and if possible the export market."
"It`s our first factory in Latin America. We are also building one in the United States."
Alstom, which has been doing business in Brazil for 55 years, already won two key contracts for wind farms.
Last year, it signed a deal with Brazil's Desenvix to supply its 90MW wind farm complex in Bahia state.
And in June, it inked a $288 million deal with Brasventos for the construction and maintenance of three Brazilian wind farms in the state of Rio Grande do Norte.
The inauguration took place a day after Kron and Philippe Delleur, head of Alstom's Brazilian unit, met with President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia and announced that Alstom would build an $8.3 million global technology center at its facility in Taubate in Sao Paulo state.
The center is to build Kaplan turbines that are widely used around the world to achieve efficiency over a wide range of flow and water level.
The turbines will be produced for the world market.
Alstom specializes in infrastructure projects in the electricity production and rail sectors. It has offices in 70 countries with more than 80,000 employees.
© 2011 AFP