Shell Plans to Become Brazil's Largest Offshore Wind Developer

Shell offshore wind Brazil
(file photo)

Published Mar 21, 2022 8:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

In its efforts to recast itself from fossil fuel energy, Shell has announced an ambitious plan to develop new offshore wind power projects off the coast of Brazil. The energy giant announced that it has applied for environmental licenses from the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) that would make it the largest operator of offshore wind generation facilities in the country.

Shell proposed to build six wind power generation projects with a combined capacity of 17 gigawatts located along the coast in six states. These projects would give Shell the largest licensing capacity in Brazil, surpassing Ventos do Atlántico, which is proposing 15 GW in its five projects. Other majors, including Equinor and Petrobras, have also proposed major offshore wind development for Brazil with Ibama reporting it is reviewing proposals for a total of approximately 80 gigawatts of offshore wind power generation.

“With more than 20 years of experience in wind energy in the world and more than 50 years of tradition in offshore projects, Shell intends to combine its experience on these two fronts with the aim of bringing more energy and clean energy to the country,” said Gabriela Oliveira, manager of Renewable Energy Generation for Shell in Brazil.

Shell said that it plans to commence the environmental studies for the offshore wind projects later this year. Currently, Shell, like all the competitors for the offshore wind licenses, is waiting on the Brazilian government to finalize the regulations on offshore wind generation.

In January, the government published a decree setting rules for offshore wind power generation in Brazil. However, a congressional analysis is still pending before the frame is finalized. Among the issues yet to be resolved is the connection of wind power to the national grid. The government defined the rules however to enable the necessary offshore studies and the identification of areas suitable for the development of offshore wind projects. Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy will be in charge of carrying out the studies, selecting the offshore wind zones, and overseeing the auctions for the licenses.

As a major global oil company, Shell has come under fire from environmental campaigners. Last year, a district court in Hague ruled that Shell has an integral responsibility in the global efforts to abate the consequences of global warming. Shell already has investments in offshore wind farms operating in the Netherlands and small onshore wind farms in the U.S. the company reports that it currently has 8GW of offshore in the development stage including recent moves to launch large projects in Scotland, the Celtic Sea, and the U.S. offshore sector as well as investments in France and South Korea.