Approved in the Federal Senate in December of 2018 (PLS 484/17) and currently pending in the Chamber of Deputies, Bill 11,247/18, although controversial, may represent an important advance for the expansion of renewable energy sources in the Brazilian energy matrix.

The text provides the regulatory framework for wind and photovoltaic energy generation projects located in inland waters, in the territorial sea, and in the exclusive economic zone. The objective is to encourage the rational economic use of the sea's energy resources and the generation of electricity from renewable sources. To this end, Bill 11,247/18 provides for the granting of a concession or authorization, in the public use modality (UBP), for the installation of a wind or photovoltaic prism in maritime or inland waters, as part of the implementation and operation of offshore wind or photovoltaic projects.

By means of concession auctions, in coordination with transmission auctions for generated electric energy and/or auctions to contract energy destined to the regulated market, incentives and mechanisms would be established for the implementation of offshore renewable projects.

The absence of physical barriers such as vegetation, mountains, or buildings makes the high seas and the winds stronger and more constant, which is an advantage for offshore power generation. Due to the complexity in putting it into operation, however, the exploration of offshore energy faces challenges such as incipient specialized technical support, difficulties in the transportation of wind turbine components, high project cost, and possible interferences with oil and gas exploration and production or sea routes.

In addition, the bill requires the Ministry of Defense, the Maritime Authority, and the Ministry of Transport, Ports, and Civil Aviation to be consulted in defining the wind or photovoltaic prisms to be granted, which may make the bidding process more complex.

Regarding the allocation of funds arising from payment for the use of a public good, Bill 11,247/18 establishes that 45% will be allocated to the states, 45% to municipalities, 3% to the Ministry of the Environment, 3% to the Ministry of Mines and Energy, and 4% to the National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development (FNDCT).

The text has been criticized by players in the industry, arguing that the implementation of offshore wind projects is already feasible under the current regulations promulgated by the National Agency for Electric Energy (Aneel), which includes the procedure for granting new projects for power generation in its Normative Resolution No. 391/2009.

Although controversial, PL 11,247/18 emphasizes the importance of renewable energy sources for the future of Brazil's energy planning and exposes a great potential not yet explored for offshore generation projects. Certainly, with the right incentives and a constructive debate, offshore projects may be the next frontier for investment in renewable energy in Brazil.