Neoenergia’s logistical challenge for the transportation of wind turbines to the hinterlands of Paraíba
Neoenergia has begun assembling the first wind turbines that will form the Chafariz Wind Complex, in the hinterlands of Paraíba. The work is one of the last stages of implementation of the new parks and was started after the arrival of the blades and nacelles, components that stay on top of the towers to house equipment such as, for example, the generator. These are the largest and heaviest parts of the turbines – the blades are 64.5 meters long and weigh 21 tons, while the nacelles are 13 meters long and weigh 70 tons – and have traveled more than a thousand kilometers along highways in four states: Bahia, Pernambuco, Ceará and Paraíba. Due to its size, the transport operation is a real logistical challenge, with 24 months of preparation, between feasibility studies and authorization by state and federal agencies.
“The Chafariz Wind Complex is a strategic project to expand our clean energy generation. We moved into the final months of construction, with the assembly of the wind turbines after overcoming this important challenge of transporting the first nacelles and blades. We rely on the meticulous work of our employees and partners in the project, to accomplish the entire route in compliance with all safety protocols”, affirms Neoenergia’s Renewables Construction manager, William Carneiro.
The nacelles were the first to arrive in the municipality of Santa Luzia, in Paraíba, where the new wind complex is located. Manufactured by Siemens Gamesa in the Camaçari Industrial Complex (BA), they are transported in carts measuring 18 meters. To put this operation into practice, it was necessary to carry out a geometric feasibility study of the highways between Bahia and Paraíba, a stage that took six months and analyzed the characteristics of the ten roads through which the vehicles passed.
The evaluation was presented to the responsible bodies – the Department of Highways (DER) in the states and the National Department of Transport Infrastructure (Dnit) at the federal level – so that the Special Traffic Authorization (AET) could be granted. “The fastest route would be about 830 kilometers, in passenger cars, but because of the size and weight of the carts, it was necessary to take another route, which is over a thousand kilometers. It is about a 16-hour drive over three days. The transport of the 136 nacelles started in February and should be completed by December 2021”, explains William.
The blades are manufactured in Ipojuca (PE). The journey in ordinary cars between the city on the Pernambuco coast and Santa Luzia would be about 340 kilometers in six hours. However, transporting components of this magnitude in a special scheme, the trip takes approximately three days. For safety, the maximum speed allowed is 50 km/h. To take the blades, besides the study and the authorizations from the traffic agencies, it is necessary to travel with escorts on some stretches of road, in order to avoid accidents. The first blades were delivered in March, and transportation of the 408 blades should be completed by December 2021.
Besides the special planning for transportation on the highways, Neoenergia needed to improve the access to the farms’ region and build 116 kilometers of roads. These services benefit the local population both with better road conditions and with the generation of jobs and income during the construction work.
The Chafariz Wind Complex should come into operation in 2022, with an installed capacity of 471.2 MW in 15 farms, enough energy to supply more than one million people, the population of capitals such as São Luís (MA) and Maceió (AL). This clean energy can avoid the emission of 125.5 thousand tons of CO2 per year, which is aligned with Neoenergia’s commitment to decarbonization and the fight against climate change. The construction of the project generated more than 1.4 thousand direct jobs. In the next, with Chafariz and another wind complex under construction in the Northeast, Oitis (PI and BA), the company will add 1.6 GW of installed capacity in wind power, three times the current power.