The Spanish multinational Iberdrola inaugurated this Wednesday the largest renewable energy project in Brazil and Latin America. The so-called Paraíba Neoenergía Renewable Complex is located in Santa Luzia, a city some 300 kilometers away in the inland state of Paraíba, one of those bordering the Atlantic Ocean in northeastern Brazil. With 136 turbines and 228,000 solar panels spread over a park of more than 8,000 hectares, it has an installed capacity of 600 megawatts (MW) and has been in operation for a year.
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva traveled to preside over the ceremony in which he did not speak. In addition to him, the President of Iberdrola, Ignacio Sánchez Galán, confirmed his commitment to maintain the company in Brazil, where it has been established for 25 years, that this is a new step “toward a system less dependent on fossil fuels” and its close. relationship with the president, who is about to complete three months in power.
Apart from the size, the main innovation of the complex is Neoenergia (subsidiary of Iberdrola in Brazil), according to the company, which, by combining the generation capacity of solar and wind power, makes it easier and reduces costs. Something is new in Brazil. Galán explained that it is “the first hybrid park in Brazil. It uses a 370-kilometer transmission line that we built with a photovoltaic park and a wind farm, so that it generates electricity almost 24 hours a day.” During the day, thanks to the sun; windy night
The investment in the complex is about 3,500 million Reais (620 million in cash, 670 million). With 40 million customers in Brazil, Neoenergia is one of the main electricity companies in Latin America’s largest economy.
Lula did not give a speech, much to the dismay of several Neoenergia workers who chanted his name at the event. The president started the day intensively in Santa Luzia with events in Recife and Rio de Janeiro and wanted to keep his voice, in addition to the prominence of the president of Paraíba, João Azevedo, according to the spokesman of the presidency.
Silverio Olegario, a 50-year-old farmer, remembers perfectly that day in 2012 when workers appeared on his farm – which today is a public park from which pure energy comes – talking about the potential of those lands to generate electricity with the wind. . He listened attentively because, since the plague in 1985 that destroyed forever the cotton crops that fed his family for generations, life was very complicated, according to what he told a group of journalists invited by Neoenergia on Tuesday. There is no demand for land and no price. And out of nowhere someone wanting to appear. Now, with his mother and brothers, he receives a census for the inherited land. “The rental income is not much, because we are 23 siblings,” says Olegario, who is the father of two children.
Before signing a 35-year-old lease, he went with other neighboring expeditions to the nearby state of Rio Grande do Norte to see a mill plant for himself. Until then I only knew about TV. Now the residence and the restaurant are surrounded by a 64-meter-wide plate mill that runs for a good distance. He opened the business to feed the thousands of workers who built the park. He says that during the pandemic, as everything is outside, the restaurant has received 400 guests on Sundays. The business is now less light, but he dreams of a place destined for the descent of the city. There is no lack of natural charms, which he exaggerates.
Although these lands were desired by the three renewing orders of the continent wind and abundant sun, those of his family from his great-grandfather were never recorded in the register. So that he can split it, Neoenergia regularly helped him. “It was georeferenced and now it’s been reported,” he said. The same thing happened with the other 140 residents living in this park that provides clean energy to the Brazilian national system.
Sánchez Galán, President of Iberdrola, for his part explained that the company’s income in Brazil is around two thousand dollars per year. And it has determined that its intention is to dedicate another 6,000 or 7,000 million until 2025, to pay the company in the two new transmission auctions that the Lula Executive is preparing, in June and October.
The chief executive of the Spanish electricity company sees the most positive expectations of the Latin American economy in this third term left by the leader in Brazil, who presided over a large government and was president between 2003 and 2010. Inflation control – around 5% – is, in the opinion of the Spanish executive, one of the strong points Brazil is “with half the world facing inflation issues.”
The second positive aspect that he sees in Brazil “is that the government of President Lula, as in the first stage, will do everything to maintain macroeconomic stability”. Galán met on Tuesday in Brazil with Finance Minister Fernando Haddad, who is preparing a new tax reform plan. The minister explained to him, he says, not to gather more, but to gather better ones. “I think it encourages us to have that stability that the country needs at all levels,” the Spanish executive emphasized.
Neoenergia’s operations in Brazil include all levels of business: generation, transmission, distribution and marketing. The business is very focused on renewables, because a total of five gigawatts of power in hydroelectric, wind and solar plants accounts for 90% of its operations. Last year it earned 4.7 billion reais (about 830 million in cash, 890 million dollars).
The survey was also attended by several ministers and the president of Paraíba, Lula’s wife, Janja da Silva, for which the president included feminism in his speech. Women’s messages and promises were constant in their speeches. Galán takes pride in the 500 electric cars that are already in operation in its Brazilian subsidiaries and 200 in the company.
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