It was almost by chance that entrepreneur Mario Araripe, former owner of Troller, made his debut in the wind energy sector. In 2006, after selling the automaker to Ford, Ceara decided to follow the advice of a friend of the Technological Institute of Aeronautics (ITA) to take a look at the potential of the winds in Brazil.
With cash in hand and free time, he began to study the subject. In a short time, it had created ‘Casa dos Ventos‘, a company that is now responsible for the development of a third of the wind projects in operation and under construction in the country.
This represents 6,000 megawatts (MW) of the 18,000 MW that Brazil will have until 2024 — currently, 14,000 MW installed — numbers that placed Araripe among the richest in Brazil, according to Forbes magazine. The company also has a portfolio of 16,000 MW in projects, which could become a reality in the coming years and bring even more profits to the entrepreneur.
According to Lucas Araripe, son of Mario, the company is betting on a new cycle of growth based especially on solutions for consumers in the free market and in the self-production of energy. In practice, this means producing and trading energy directly with the consumer; or have a partner that will consume the energy generated.
Currently, the company works with the project of two plants in Bahia and Rio Grande do Norte, which will be destined for the free market. Planned to start operations in 2020 and 2021, the plants — with an installed capacity of 600 MW — should be built in partnership with companies and consortia, says Lucas. “We are designing self-production structures through corporate arrangements where this partner will be able to benefit from sector charges, guaranteeing an additional reduction of the cost of energy.“
The president of the Brazilian Wind Energy Association (Abeeólica), Elbia Gannoum, emphasizes that Casa dos Ventos‘ bet on the free market and self-production is the next big step for the wind sector in Brazil. “This is a market with great growth potential in the country going forward,“ says Elbia, who sees Mario Araripe as a great visionary in the industry.
With the advice of college friend Odilon Camargo, author of the Brazilian Wind Atlas, he scored territory and went ahead in a business that few bets on in Brazil. In 12 years, since beginning to study on the subject, the businessman has transformed the House of Winds into a reference for the wind sector.
In addition to being a developer, the area that started the business, the company set up in 2013 an engineering structure to build the parks and then sell them. With investments of R $ 6.5 billion, it raised five wind farms of 1.1 thousand MW. All have already been sold in the market: 390 MW for Cubico (Santander and Canadian funds); 345 MW for Echoenergy (from the British Actis fund); and 360 MW (Votorantim and the Canadian CPPIB fund).
“With these sales, we prepare for the new growth cycle,“ says Lucas. In the market, sources say ‘Casa dos Ventos‘ raised about R $1.5 billion from sales — money that should be reinvested in new fronts in the wind sector and now also in the solar.
One of House Wind’s plans is to make its complex wind-powered wind farms with the insertion of solar generation and energy storage, says Lucas. The company already has a portfolio of 4,700 MW in projects mapped throughout the country.