Green hydrogen is rapidly emerging as a key component in transitioning to a sustainable energy future. Produced from renewable energy sources, this clean-burning fuel offers a range of applications in industries from transport to electricity generation. And, unlike hydrogen produced from fossil fuels, green hydrogen does not emit carbon dioxide, making it a critical tool in the fight against climate change. In this deep dive, we take a look at the critical role that green hydrogen can play in complementing existing renewable energy offerings amid the push toward net zero.

The many uses of hydrogen

The energy revolution is in full swing, and the world is turning towards renewable energy sources to power the future. At Atlas Renewable Energy, we’ve seen first-hand how large industrial energy users in sectors like chemicals and mining are making the switch to solar and wind power to run their operations – slashing carbon emissions while helping to drive a more renewable electricity grid.

However, there are still significant challenges in decarbonizing the global economy completely. Aviation, shipping, long-distance trucking, and heavy industries like concrete and steel manufacturing require high energy density fuel or intense heat, which are difficult to electrify. Hydrogen fuel cells, which have been used to send rockets into space since the 1950s, could be a solution for the heavy-duty transport industry, while hydrogen-fueled planes could reduce the climate impact of flying by up to 75%.

But it’s not just in replacing solid fuel where hydrogen can play a leading role in cleaning up the global economy. It can also store energy, acting as a buffer for renewable energy sources like wind and solar. These sources are subject to fluctuations, producing energy only when the wind blows or the sun shines; hence energy storage solutions are crucial for their widespread deployment. While battery technology has been rapidly developing, it still has some way to go before it can provide sufficient backup for a fully renewable grid. Green hydrogen offers a reliable and scalable solution for energy storage and could be a game-changer for the sustainable energy future.

From Gray to Blue to Green: a look at the different types of Hydrogen

Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, is the key to unlocking a greener future. But to truly harness its potential, we must first understand how hydrogen is produced and its impact on the environment.

Because hydrogen atoms do not exist in nature by themselves, they must be decoupled from the other elements they attach to. The majority of hydrogen currently used is created through a process called steam methane reforming, which uses fossil fuels, such as propane, gasoline, and coal, to create high-temperature steam that reacts with methane to produce hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. While this method may seem convenient, it comes at a steep cost to the environment – the resulting gray hydrogen generates 830 million metric tons of CO2 emissions each year.

But there’s a cleaner alternative. Blue hydrogen, produced through the same process but with the capture and storage of CO2 emissions, offers a step towards reducing the carbon footprint of hydrogen production.

And then there’s green hydrogen, the cleanest form of all, which is created through the electrolysis of water using renewable energy sources like solar or wind power. The result is completely green hydrogen, with no emissions and only water as a byproduct. Green hydrogen has the potential to revolutionize manufacturing, transportation, and beyond as we strive toward a cleaner, more sustainable world.

Green hydrogen around the world

The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law by US President Joe Biden in August last year, is widely seen as a turning point for green hydrogen production. Under the law, green hydrogen plants in 2023 can receive a production tax credit of 2.6 cents per kWh and up to $3 per kg of hydrogen, respectively, for the first 10 years of operation, thereby slashing production costs and bolstering the US Department of Energy’s plans to produce 10 million metric tons of clean hydrogen by 2030, which include US$8bn for the development of regional hydrogen hubs.

In Latin America, numerous countries are already working to take advantage of their high renewable energy potential to put national hydrogen roadmaps in place. Chile’s strategy, launched in 2020, sets out specific goals such as being the country with the cheapest green hydrogen on the planet, at less than U$S1.50 per kg by 2030, while Colombia’s roadmap, published in 2021, establishes tax incentives for both green hydrogen projects and their so-called “blue” counterparts – those produced using fossil fuels but with emissions capture – to attract new investments.

Green hydrogen is also proving to be a game-changer in Europe’s quest to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, with the European Commission placing the fuel at the heart of its plan. As part of the European Union hydrogen strategy, which was implemented at the beginning of 2022, all new power plants must be equipped with turbines that are ready to run on a hydrogen-natural gas blend, with plans to certify these turbines for 100% hydrogen use by 2030. The push toward green hydrogen is not limited to power plants. The continent’s steelmakers are also exploring its potential as a substitute for coal in their furnaces, demonstrating that green hydrogen is a practical and scalable solution for reducing carbon emissions across a range of industries.

Green hydrogen and renewables: a perfect partnership

With the growth of solar and wind power, the potential for producing and storing clean hydrogen will continue to expand. Moreover, hydrogen can store surplus renewable energy that is generated when supply exceeds demand, providing a stable source of clean energy for the future. As such, the marriage of green hydrogen and renewable energy is made in sustainable heaven, enabling us to meet tomorrow’s energy demands while safeguarding the planet. 

For green hydrogen producers and consumers, the time to act is now: acquiring renewable energy will pave the way to accelerate both production and adoption. 

In partnership with companies like Atlas Renewable Energy, at the forefront of the energy transition movement, hydrogen producers have an unparalleled opportunity to lead the charge toward a sustainable energy future. We’re excited about the possibilities.

In partnership with Castleberry Media, we are committed to taking care of our planet, therefore, this content is responsible with the environment.

As the world continues to grapple with the urgent need to decarbonize its economies, one energy-intensive industry is quietly emerging as a vital area of focus in the transition to a low-carbon future: cement production. With global demand for cement projected to continue growing in the coming decades, the industry has the potential to make a significant contribution to achieving a “just transition” – a term used to describe the fair and equitable shift to a low-carbon economy that prioritizes the needs of workers and communities. In this deep dive, we explore the potential of renewable energy to power cement production and the benefits that such a transition can bring to workers, communities, and the planet.

The cement industry is a vital backbone of the global economy, powering infrastructure development and construction worldwide. It is the foundation upon which the modern world is built, providing the materials for everything from towering skyscrapers to sprawling suburban neighborhoods.

The need for continuous high-temperature heat to produce cement requires huge amounts of energy, much of which is still dependent on fossil fuels. This, combined with the emissions released by the chemical reactions inherent in cement making, mean that cement is one of the world’s highest-emitting industrial sectors, responsible for about 8% of global CO₂ emissions. 

As cities expand, new infrastructure is built to accommodate the growing global population. But with the cement industry responsible for such a significant portion of global greenhouse gas emissions, the question arises: How can we continue to build the cities of the future without sacrificing the planet? 

Pressure on the cement industry to decarbonize has increased rapidly in recent years. Investors, in particular, are becoming ever more conscious of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues, and many are divesting from companies that fail to meet their ESG standards – putting cement producers at risk of losing access to capital if they don’t take action to reduce their emissions. Governments, too, are taking notice of the industry’s emissions. Last year, the US General Services Administration – the federal government’s procurement arm – announced new limitations on high carbon-emitting building materials for all its major projects. This move will affect billions of dollars of federal infrastructure investments. Meanwhile, as public scrutiny of CO2 emissions increases, environmental NGOs are now directly challenging cement companies over their contribution to climate change, putting the industry under the same spotlight as the oil and gas sectors.

Therefore, cement producers need to act quickly to demonstrate their commitment to a sustainable future, but decarbonizing the cement industry is a complex endeavor.

Approximately 60% of emissions from the cement industry come from calcination – a chemical reaction whereby calcium carbonate is heated and converted into calcium oxide. To curb industry emissions while still producing enough cement to meet growing global demand, many cement companies are looking to new technologies for a solution.

In September last year, the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) announced an agreement to scale up the deployment of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) throughout the cement and concrete industry to increase the pace of decarbonization efforts. However, the technology is still in its infancy, and the capital required for it to reach scale is enormous. By 2030, the year in which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states global emissions must be halved to avoid climate catastrophe, the GCCA’s current target is to have CCUS fully operational at just 10 cement plants around the world.

With time running out, another potential solution to this problem is for cement producers to focus on reducing the 40% of their emissions that come from the electricity used to power their plants by transitioning to renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

Using power purchase agreements (PPAs), cement producers can obtain clean energy at stable costs without significant investments in new technologies or processes. It’s a model that many large energy users, such as Unipar, a producer of chlorine, chlorides, and PVC, and global chemicals giant Dow, have already adopted.

This approach can be seen as a quick win for the cement industry, as it allows producers to reduce their emissions profile without negatively impacting their bottom line. It also has the potential to create jobs and economic opportunities in the renewable energy sector. It can help position the cement industry as a leader in transitioning to a low-carbon economy. Power purchase agreements (PPAS): A source of stability in a climate of change.

Cement and concrete remain the best building material we have for affordable housing, which is a critical component of inclusive and equitable societies, and the hospitals, dams, bridges, and public transport infrastructure that the world’s population needs to drive the inclusive economic growth of the future. It’s abundant, affordable, and locally available – just 5% of cement is traded between countries, according to GCCA figures – which means significant carbon savings in transportation versus other building materials. Its strength, durability, and resilience to extreme weather and hazards mean it can play a vital role in supporting infrastructure development in climate change-affected areas, and it can also be reused: at the end of life, it is 100% recyclable.

Atlas Renewable Energy understands the importance of reducing emissions in the cement industry and is committed to supporting the industry in its transition to a low-carbon future. Atlas partners with heavy energy users to provide clean, stable, and cost-effective energy, enabling companies to reduce their emissions profile and demonstrate their commitment to a sustainable future. 

The cement industry has a crucial role to play in driving economic growth and development for all. For more information on how Atlas can partner with the cement industry to accelerate decarbonization measures, get in touch.

In partnership with Castleberry Media, we are committed to taking care of our planet, therefore, this content is responsible with the environment.

In this article, we explore the potential of development finance institutions (DFIs) to support the growth of renewable energy and drive investment in the sector. Using Atlas Renewable Energy as a case study, we examine how innovative funding structures and strategic collaborations with DFIs make renewable energy projects more profitable and bankable while enabling the energy transition to become a reality.

Renewable energy remains a good investment in 2023 and beyond …

As the world continues to prioritize the transition to a low-carbon economy, renewable energy is poised to play an increasingly important role in meeting global energy demand, making it a sector to watch for investors seeking to make a positive impact while generating returns.

Renewable energy has been one of the most exciting and rapidly expanding sectors in recent years. In 2023, it remains a good investment due to several factors.

Firstly, renewable energy technologies, such as solar and wind, have become increasingly competitive with fossil fuels in terms of cost. This has been driven by improvements in technology and economies of scale, making renewable energy a more cost-effective option for individuals and organizations. This shift towards renewable energy has been further supported by ambitious renewable energy targets set by countries worldwide, which are expected to continue to drive demand for renewable energy in the coming years.

In addition to the declining cost of renewable energy, these projects can provide stable, long-term returns to investors.

Finally, investing in renewable energy is often seen as an impactful way to support the transition to a low-carbon future and address global environmental challenges, which can be a key consideration for investors who prioritize environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors.

… but to reach scale, more investment is needed.

In spite of the tough macroeconomic environment of recent years, investors continue to flock into the sector. In 2022, funding for renewable energy rose to a record of US$495 billion, according to BloombergNEF figures, driven largely by solar investment, which jumped 36% year-on-year. At Atlas, we saw this growth firsthand as we interconnected numerous new projects across our Americas footprint.

While this upswing in investment is exciting if the world is to meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 °C, much more is needed – about US$131 trillion more, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which calculates that the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix needs to double to 36% by 2050.

Since Atlas Renewable Energy was founded in 2016, its experienced team has worked hard to contribute to the sustainable, inclusive energy system of the future by developing financing mechanisms to help bring more investors into the sector. As well as executing numerous power purchase agreements (PPAs), which can offer a hedge against a corporate buyer’s fluctuations in power cost while providing a steady stream of revenue for investors over extended periods, we have also created innovative structures to mitigate risk, offer additional return potential, and create more investment opportunities.

Leveraging the power of Development Finance Institutions (DFI)

One of the most impactful ways to foster renewable energy transformation is by harnessing the support of DFIs to help scale up renewable energy investment from the private sector.

DFIs are established and guided by governments worldwide to pursue public policy objectives such as renewable energy transformations. With their ability to reduce financing costs, mitigate risks, and increase project viability, DFIs can enable renewable energy projects to become more profitable and bankable, thereby creating the favorable market conditions needed for more private capital to participate in their development.

DFI support can range from equity investments, by which an institution provides developers with the necessary funding to build and operate renewable energy projects, to guarantees, which help insurance investors in renewable energy projects against risk. They can also leverage their investment-grade rating – often higher than that of the sovereign in which they are operating – to tap low-cost funds for renewable energy projects via the issuance of green bonds. Furthermore, through blended finance, DFIs can provide a combination of grants, concessional loans, and market-rate loans to reduce the risk and cost of financing renewable energy projects, making them more profitable and bankable, especially in developing countries.

Reaping the benefits of investing in a DFI-supported project

As well as opening new opportunities for investors to secure more favorable returns, DFI support provides a range of other benefits.

DFIs can provide technical assistance to renewable energy developers, which can help to improve project design and increase the efficiency of renewable energy systems. This can result in cost savings and increased profitability over the life of the project. What’s more, DFIs can provide access to networks of experts, policymakers, and other stakeholders in the renewable energy industry, which can help investors to stay up-to-date on industry trends and opportunities.

Beyond this, the fact that DFIs conduct wide-ranging due diligence processes to manage and measure the impacts of their investments means that they will only partner with reputable renewable energy developers – giving investors and commercial lenders greater comfort in the project.

As part of its mission to accelerate the transition to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future, Atlas Renewable Energy has partnered with several DFIs on a number of its projects, paving the way for more investors to participate in the global energy transition.

Putting it into practice: how Atlas works with DFIs

Mobilizing investment by derisking and improving bankability

To finance the El Naranjal and Del Litoral solar plants in Uruguay, Atlas Renewable Energy partnered with IDB Invest, part of the Inter-American Development Bank. In this award-winning deal, IDB Invest provided a financing package consisting of senior and subordinated facilities structured as B-bonds. This facilitated the mobilization of capital from institutional investors, including Allianz Global Investors, John Hancock, Industrial Alliance, and BlackRock, and marked the first time institutional investors took subordinated risks in the renewable sector in Uruguay.

As well as IDB Invest’s participation, Atlas implemented several risk mitigation approaches to ensure this transaction was appealing to institutional investors. These included bankable 30-year term PPAs with a stable state-owned electric utility and beneficial terms including fixed price, inflation-adjusted payments over the PPA life, no requirement for minimum power generation, and curtailment provisions to compensate renewable producers.

Tapping into technical support through blended finance

Atlas Renewable Energy also partnered with IDB Invest to support the design, construction, commissioning, and operation of two bifacial photovoltaic plants, with a combined capacity of 597 MW, in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil.

This funding structure involved IDB Invest lending US$80mn of its funds, as well as mobilizing US$60mn of resources from DNB Bank, in addition to two blended financing loans of US$5mn each from the Climate Fund Canada for the Private Sector of the Americas – Phase II (C2FII) and the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), both managed by IDB Invest.

Beyond the financing aspect, the IDB Invest transaction also includes technical advice and financial incentives to accelerate gender inclusion and provide increased opportunities for underrepresented ethnic groups, targeting female technical workforce participation in the construction process of 15%, of which at least 30% are of African descent.

Overcoming currency volatility through US dollar-denominated financing

This year, Atlas Renewable Energy partnered with Brazilian DFI, Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES) to finance its Boa Sorte solar project, securing a loan of US$210mn.

It marked the first time BNDES has executed a US dollar-indexed loan to a renewable energy project, setting a new precedent for project financing in Brazil. This dollar-indexed financing was a crucial prerequisite for making the project viable.

This was made possible due to a new regulation under Law #14,286/2021 – known as the Foreign Exchange Law, as of 31 December 2022 – which allows exporters to sign power purchase agreements (PPAs) in US dollars with authorized companies.

The funding that Atlas obtained under the new framework enables exporters in energy-intensive industries that sell their products in dollars to reduce their exposure to exchange rate fluctuations by allowing them to purchase electricity at prices linked to the dollar.

Atlas Renewable Energy: innovating for growth

As part of its mission to accelerate the transition to a cleaner, more sustainable future, Atlas Renewable Energy continues to collaborate with DFIs to bring more private capital into the renewable energy sector, making it more profitable and bankable. Atlas Renewable Energy’s successful partnerships with DFIs on a range of projects have set a blueprint for the renewable energy sector, demonstrating the potential for private and public entities to work together to drive the energy transition while generating returns. By prioritizing collaboration and innovation, Atlas Renewable Energy is well-positioned to make renewable energy investments more accessible, attractive, and impactful for investors seeking to contribute to a sustainable future.

In partnership with Castleberry Media, we are committed to taking care of our planet, therefore, this content is responsible with the environment.

The chemicals industry is a vital sector of the global economy, with products used in a wide range of applications, including agriculture, construction, healthcare, transportation, and electronics. However, it is also one of the most resource-intensive, generating a significant environmental impact. As major chemical companies seek to adopt more sustainable and circular business models, we look at how renewable energy can help the industry reduce its dependence on finite resources, minimize waste and pollution, and contribute to a more sustainable future. 

A vital economic sector with a large environmental footprint

The chemicals industry is an important sector of the global economy, with products used in a wide range of applications, from agriculture to healthcare, construction, transportation, and electronics. According to the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), it contributes an estimated US$5.7tn, or 7%, to the world gross domestic product (GDP) through direct, indirect, and induced impacts, supporting 120 million jobs worldwide.

It also drives innovation and technological progress through heavy investment in research and development, driving the development of advanced technologies, such as automation and artificial intelligence.

However, because the production of chemicals requires the extraction of raw materials, the use of energy and water, and the release of emissions and waste, the industry is also one of the most resource-intensive and polluting, with a significant impact on the environment and human health.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the chemicals industry is the largest industrial energy consumer and the third largest industry subsector in terms of direct CO2 emissions. At the same time, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that by 2050, the plastics sub-sector alone will account for 20% of global oil consumption and 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The circular economy rises up the global agenda

Resource constraints and rising concerns about sustainability are changing how consumers think about chemicals. As brands around the world refocus their offerings towards eco-friendly products, the chemical industry is being called upon to address its environmental footprint and help to come up with cleaner, reusable, recyclable, or compostable inputs.

To reduce the impact on the planet of chemical production and consumption while also creating economic opportunities, the concept of a circular economy has become increasingly relevant in recent years. 

The circular economy is an economic system in which resources are used and reused in a closed loop, with waste and pollution minimized, and materials and products are kept in use for as long as possible. 

By adopting circular business models, the chemical industry can reduce its dependence on virgin materials and energy and create value from waste streams. Chemicals can be used and reused in various applications, and the environmental impact of chemical production and consumption can be minimized. 

The chemicals industry has already taken some steps towards the circular economy model. For example, some companies have implemented closed-loop systems, in which waste from one production process becomes the raw material for another process. Others have developed products with a longer lifespan that can be easily recycled at the end of their life. Additionally, many companies have implemented eco-design principles, which aim to reduce the environmental impact of products by considering the entire life cycle of the product. 

The future is circular 

With the emergence of numerous new regulations and initiatives, the drive towards a circular economy is picking up speed, bringing with it more pressure for chemical companies to rethink their production processes. 

In the United States, the Biden administration has introduced several policies aimed at promoting sustainability and combating climate change. One of the key policies is the Build Back Better plan, which includes measures to invest in clean energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote sustainable infrastructure. Meanwhile, the recent Inflation Reduction Act provides regulatory incentives and market opportunities for sustainable and circular products and services, encouraging companies to design processes and products to deliver the same or better services for people with recycling and reuse in mind. 

In the European Union (EU), the EU Taxonomy, which sets out a classification system for environmentally sustainable economic activities, includes criteria for the circular economy, such as the use of secondary raw materials and the reduction of waste. In addition, as part of the European Green Deal – a set of policies and initiatives launched by the European Commission in 2019 with the aim of making the EU climate-neutral by 2050 – the Circular Economy Action Plan sets out measures to promote a more circular economy in the EU. The plan includes measures such as eco-design requirements, extended producer responsibility, and the promotion of sustainable products and services. 

Beyond government-led incentives, the investor community is also increasingly targeting funds towards the circular economy model, with Larry Fink, CEO and chairman of BlackRock, calling the concept “a foundational blueprint.” 

Investor engagement is only likely to increase amid the continued emergence of sustainable finance frameworks such as the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), which calls on investors to incorporate the transition to a circular economy into their investment and ownership decisions. 

Renewable energy for a truly circular economy 

Renewable energy is an essential component of the circular economy concept because it addresses one of the main challenges of the linear economy: the reliance on finite and polluting resources, such as fossil fuels. The use of renewable energy sources, such as solar power, reduces the dependence on non-renewable resources and mitigates the environmental impact of energy production. This shift in energy production aligns with the circular economy’s goals, as it promotes the use of resources in a regenerative and sustainable way. 

Renewable energy also plays a crucial role in the circular economy by facilitating the adoption of circular business models. For example, renewable energy can be used to power the production of recycled materials, which are a critical component of circular production systems. Additionally, renewable energy can support the reuse of products by providing energy for remanufacturing and refurbishing. By using renewable energy sources, the circular economy can create a system that is more self-sufficient, reducing the need for virgin materials and non-renewable energy sources. 

Cognizant of this, several companies in the chemicals industry have already made significant strides in incorporating renewable energy into their operations. 

For example, Dow, which aims to obtain 750 MW of its power demand from renewable sources by 2025, has increased the proportion of its total renewable electricity consumption from approximately 13% in 2019 to more than 25% today. 

Covestro, a producer of high-performance plastics, has committed to becoming fully circular and is striving to become climate neutral by 2035 by converting its production sites to use renewable energy. 

Similarly, DSM, a global science-based company in nutrition, health, and sustainable living, has set a target to source 75% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. 

Other companies in the chemicals industry that have made significant progress in incorporating renewable energy into their operations include DuPont and BASF, among others. 

The way ahead 

While the chemical industry has made progress toward implementing circular economy principles, there is still much room for improvement. One potential solution to reducing the industry’s environmental impact is through a shift towards renewable energy, which is already being adopted by leading companies in the industry. 

Renewable energy enables the adoption of circular business models, reduces the environmental impact of energy production, and enables the decoupling of economic growth from resource consumption. At Atlas Renewable Energy, we believe that the adoption of renewable energy sources is essential to create a circular economy that is truly regenerative and sustainable. We work with companies in the chemicals industry to uncover new opportunities to reduce their environmental impact, helping to create a more sustainable future for the industry.

In partnership with Castleberry Media, we are committed to taking care of our planet, therefore, this content is responsible with the environment.

Alfredo Solar, general manager of Atlas Renewable Energy in Chile, discusses the value startups bring to Latin America’s renewable energy industry.

Q. What value do startups provide to Atlas and the renewable energy industry?

A. Atlas is a leading solar company, and we have grown in line with industry standards. We have realized that, unlike traditional suppliers, startups are more innovative. Therefore, relying on them is a way to solve problems creatively, adapt to new challenges, and be highly innovative. In short, we don’t believe in rigid solutions; we want to incorporate new visions, ideas, and technologies.

Q. How are the solutions offered by a startup less rigid?

A. They are generally growing companies focused on developing themselves and are open to new solutions. They don’t try to sell you a standard product; instead, they try to find a solution to your problem together with you and to evolve with the company until the optimal answer is found.

 Q. What kind of challenges does the renewable energy industry face that can be solved with the support of startups?

A. There are many. For example, there are issues related to environmental impact, panel temperature, and soil erosion where the plants are installed. There are also challenges associated with the preservation of vegetation.

There are also issues related to the use of resources. For example, radiation calculations, operating algorithms that monitor how the panels follow the sun, more modern electrical equipment, transformer cables, and automation for better performance and more efficient operation of the plants, both in their construction design and in their process, to gain an additional percentage of energy generation.

Q. How can startups contribute to the operation of Atlas Renewable Energy?

 A.  We are calling on startups to offer solutions for the development of the solar industry. We want to bring them on board to jointly develop new technologies or test the technologies they have created. We are not looking for emerging companies that are being born with an idea; we are looking for companies that already have a product. We intend to allow them to test that product, service, or technology on an accurate scale in Atlas plants anywhere in Latin America.     

Q. How have you collaborated with startups in Chile?

A. We have a test lab in one of our plants. We set aside a specific area for that lab and tested different things there. For example, variations of photovoltaic panels, new technologies, and types of albedo, that is to say, the soil that reflects the sunlight so that the panels capture it better.

Some startups have suggested helping us improve the type of soil and the reflection of the soil and to change the materials used. We also have initiatives in terms of cleaning. For example, we use robots that clean the panels without water. These are areas where we have incorporated technologies that are not traditional in the renewable energy industry.  

Q. What do you recommend to startups that aspire to be considered as partners?

A. The first thing is to encourage them to participate. They should contact us, show us their products, and tell us how we could improve our operation with their technology, products or services. From there, the next step is to evaluate their proposals. There are no qualifications: we look for everything that can contribute somehow. We are interested in measuring and testing the efficiency, efficacy, and effectiveness of the solutions they offer us.

 Q. What is the call for the Open Innovation Challenge that Atlas and Endeavor are inviting to participate in?

It is a call to receive proposals for solutions from emerging companies that save us costs and improve our production, allowing us, for example, to predict with greater precision how much energy a plant will generate. We are also looking for solutions that help us operate more efficiently by reducing costs or using fewer resources, such as dry-cleaning robots, which are especially useful in places like the Chilean desert, where water is scarce. Another example is solutions that allow us to monitor plants remotely.

In general, the call for proposals has been excellent. We have received applications from companies across the globe: Europe, America, and Asia. As for the prize, we plan to offer 20,000 dollars to the companies that qualify to test their technologies with Atlas. With that money, a pilot project will be conducted within one to six months. If the pilot project succeeds, we will have more than twenty solar plants where it can be implemented on a massive scale.

Q. What is Endeavor’s participation in the Open Innovation Challenge?

Endeavor has the potential to discover, attract, structure, and systematize innovative ideas. It would have been very challenging for us to do it directly. Endeavor is specialized in approaching and connecting startups with the companies that require the services. In our case, Atlas is a platform for investing in renewable energy. Our goal is to support, and the challenge is to develop beneficial and environmentally friendly technology. The idea is to leave a positive legacy.

Q. How advanced are we in Latin America in the technologies you need at Atlas?

A. All these technologies were created in Europe, where they have been developed for many more years, and many people are thinking about improving and optimizing the industry. Latin America is ready; it is a continent growing enormously in installing renewable energy. There are some pioneering countries: Brazil, Mexico, and Chile. Other countries, such as Peru and Colombia, are just starting and have the greatest potential for growth in renewable energy in Latin America.

We are a company that was born in Latin America. Now we are expanding into Europe, starting with Spain. We will incorporate the products and services of startups that we see as useful in all our plants. Brazil is where Atlas has the largest number of operating plants, and we would be very interested in testing new services. Chile, Mexico, and Uruguay are other countries where we can test them.

Q. How are we doing in Latin America regarding innovation in the renewable energy industry?

A. Latin America is one of the continents with the fastest-growing renewable technologies. In a way, Europe has already gone down this road, and the spaces are much smaller. There, it is increasingly complex to install new renewable plants.

Latin America starts with some pioneering countries (Brazil, Chile, and Mexico), and others just beginning the journey and have everything to grow. This is the case in Colombia, where the penetration of renewables may be around one percent. Latin American countries can grow to whatever they set as a goal. Chile is already at 20 percent of renewable energy and plans to go further. The extreme case is Uruguay, where almost all the energy consumed is renewable. It does not use fossil fuels to generate electricity.

Q. How do you perceive Latin America in terms of the contribution of innovative ideas?

A. I think it is a difficult issue to measure. There will be more and more support for an industry such as renewable energies, which has grown exponentially and will grow the most globally. It is impressive.

There are young people with initiatives that accompany the development of the renewable energy industry with ideas and an eye on spaces with opportunities. We are open to proposals and welcome at any congress or meeting the ideas of those who approach us and offer things.

I encourage those who are in charge of startups. No one should feel that their product or service is not important. They should know that there are spaces to develop projects together. A good idea that may partially solve a problem can be a great solution as long as people dare. The key is to have initiative. There are no bad ideas. A well-executed project can work, and we want to offer the space to test ideas.

Q. Tell us about Atlas’ innovation lab in Chile.

A. It’s in a plant in Chile, very close to Santiago. It is a 120-megawatt plant connected to the grid and is operational. We decided that in that plant, which has a full-scale operation, we could allocate a segment, a section, for different tests. We have been doing this for about three years now.

When, for example, bifacial modules (modules that capture sunlight not only on the upper side but also on the lower side) appeared in the laboratory, we could test different types and see how efficient they were.

The panels follow the sun as it moves during the day. But then, many variables influence their efficiency, such as the slope of the terrain, the shadow of one panel on another, or the shadow that a hill may cast on the plant. We saw a chance to improve if we had a specific algorithm for each row of panels and not a generic one for the whole plant. That gave us one or two percent more energy generation. We can use our laboratory in Chile or adapt our other plants to do the tests.

Ultimately, at Atlas, we are open to experimenting with startups and anyone with the idea that can contribute to the cause of generating renewable energy that is friendly to the planet and profitable for Atlas Renewable Energy.

In partnership with Castleberry Media, we are committed to taking care of our planet, therefore, this content is responsible with the environment.

In the last decade, the growth of renewable energy has surpassed all expectations. The speed at which the global energy transition is taking place has dramatically accelerated this past year. Although the advancement of renewable energy remains 

a cornerstone on the path toward sustainability, it’s now also seen as a way to reduce the effects of geopolitical vulnerability and ensure affordability. 

Going green: incentives

According to the World Economic Forum, clean energy investments are expected to top US$1.4tn in 2022. Growing at an average annual rate of 12% since 2020, they account for almost three-quarters of the growth in overall energy investments. 

In seeking to reduce the risks associated with oil and gas dependency, governments in the US, LATAM and Europe are providing unprecedented forms of support to encourage more private investment into wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower energy, as well as assets relating to research and development for a variety of green technologies. 

Leading towards greater market diversification, this clean energy push is ultimately a win for energy consumers, both large and small, who are looking for greater stability and lower costs. 

Sustainability as a business strategy 

Before this most recent wave of policy incentives in support of an energy transition, there was already a visible trend towards sustainable financing, which generally relates to green energy projects, but increasingly includes investments in companies that seek to improve environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. 

According to statistics from Boston Consulting Group, the vast majority – 75% – of investors claim to prioritize sustainability performance, and well over half – 60% – of business executives believe that sustainability matters to investors. 

On the one hand, companies can incorporate sustainability measures along their supply chain to lead to cost savings and revenue growth. On the other hand, as it pertains to ESG criteria, sustainability must also be present throughout the value chain, since it speaks to a company’s commitment to good governance, tying into its core values, identity, and overall image.

The benefit of an ESG approach is precisely that it serves to reach profit-driven goals as well as impact-driven Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Going green: assurances

Although the application of ESG criteria is increasingly seen by investors as an indication of sustainable growth, there’s a definite need to develop better standards, frameworks, and measurement methods to properly determine sustainability profiles. 

While industry players are working to establish these standardized parameters, they also have the option to buy into green bonds as a certified form of investment. When green bonds comply with standards such as the Green Bond Principles and Green Loan Principles, they act as a form of mutual assurance between bond issuer and investors, as both parties vouch for each other’s commitment to sustainability measures. 

Atlas’ green finance framework 

Atlas issued its first green bond in 2018, specifically to refinance two solar plants in Uruguay (El Naranjal and Del Litoral). Moody provided a rating of GB1, the highest score possible, during a green bond assessment. 

To ensure full transparency, at Atlas, we developed our own Green Finance Framework as a way to clearly communicate the impact of our clean energy projects, in accordance with our commitment to an ESG approach. 

Our Green Finance Framework includes both an allocation report and an impact report within the investor letter that’s made available on our website. These reports detail every green finance instrument issued by Atlas, in addition to providing examples of the green projects funded by those instruments. Importantly, unallocated proceeds are also outlined in the report. 

Tracking transparency

The importance of transparency cannot be overlooked when greenwashing threatens the availability of capital for projects focused on implementing lasting environmental change by fostering a net-zero emissions economy from the ground up. 

Since Atlas’ approach is to operate with complete transparency, we also obtained a second opinion from Sustainalytics to vouch for the credibility of our Green Finance Framework, which is also accessible through our website. 

Meeting the momentum 

The energy transition is being pushed not only by government policies, but also by consumer demand, and increasing regulations against carbon emissions. All these factors are leading companies to adopt cleaner production methods, at a much quicker pace than ever before. 

In fact, projections indicate that renewables will generate 60% of the world’s electricity by 2035. If that’s the case, then companies should consider making the switch sooner rather than later. For starters, building a reputation as a company that values sustainability and ESG is a cumulative practice – meaning that the sooner you start, the more credibility you build. 

In addition, while solar energy is known to be the most affordable option, this is still a resource that’s channeled through energy procurement contracts, which may be subjected to competitive bidding as more companies seek to tap into these energy sources from in-demand providers. 

The benefits of working with Atlas

The benefits of working with established producers such as Atlas can be summed up in five points:

1Expanding BusinessAtlas has the advantage of solid on-the-ground experience in numerous jurisdictions over many years, which means that our solar plant locations were chosen for their ability to provide maximum output, while younger producers may not have access to the most ideal places from which to operate. We have a varied pipeline of rigorously assessed projects, and we’re ready to build near industrial hubs in the markets where we have presence. 
2Quality of our projectsOne of our most valuable assets, which allows us to continue growing on a national and international level, and with the continued support from our communities and governments. Thanks to the relationships we have built with providers and contractors, we have a 100% execution success rate across all of our contracted projects.
3Strong operating modelsAtlas Renewable Energy’s capital source and overall backing comes from Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), a leading independent infrastructure fund manager with over US$84bn under management, with a robust renewable energy portfolio of over 19 GW of operating and construction capacity worldwide. With this backing, and our strong operating model of systems and processes, we can focus on innovation without sacrificing production and  negotiate better value contracts with global suppliers we trust and known can deliver.
4A dedicated workforceFollowing extensive consultation with communities local to the sites where we operate, we have established technically-focused vocational education and training programs that create not just job opportunities during construction, but also a legacy of improved skills and employability in the local area. Within the company, we have developed a dynamic corporate culture that naturally creates the conditions to generate diversity, and from that point we have actively worked to create inclusivity, ensuring that fresh viewpoints and new perspectives are given the space to grow.
5Regulatory credibilityOur compliance with green bond standards and the initiative to set up our own Green Finance Framework demonstrates our commitment to do well by doing good, protecting clients against risk and positioning Atlas as a trustworthy partner for companies and investors who are looking to join the energy transition. 

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With its commitment to building true partnerships with its clients and partners, Atlas Renewable Energy is reimagining the way companies think about their energy strategy.

At Atlas, the goal is not just to provide renewable energy solutions, but to work closely with clients to understand their specific objectives and goals – and help them to achieve them. Whether it’s incorporating sustainable practices, promoting diversity and inclusion, or working out bespoke energy profile solutions for complex company structures, Atlas becomes a true extension of its clients’ teams, to ensure they are not just meeting their energy needs, but also reaching their wider financial and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) objectives.

In this Q&A, we sit down with Eddaly Cuesta, Director of Sustainability at Atlas Renewable Energy, to learn how the company’s unique approach to partnership and collaboration is driving real change for the better.

Q. How would you define Atlas’ strategy for building relationships and collaborating with clients?

A. Atlas is recognized for our high standards in developing, constructing, and operating renewable energy projects. We have a proven successful track record in renewable energy development across the Americas, and we’re a regional leader in delivering competitive, clean energy solutions to large corporate customers. Our success has been underpinned by our commitment to delivering customer-focused energy solutions with the goal of providing green energy at competitive costs through tailor-made, innovative solutions. However, what really sets us apart are our efforts to ensure that every single project we do delivers multiple benefits across various dimensions.  

Q. What are Atlas’ main areas of focus when it comes to creating a wider impact?

A. As a developer of renewable energy projects, we are a key component in transitioning to a low-carbon global economy. The projects we have under operation have avoided millions of tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere. Although this is an important achievement, our efforts don’t stop there. Our mission is to positively disrupt and elevate the energy sector by putting sustainability and social progress at the center of everything we do, to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

To achieve this, we have a clear alignment with several of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), core pillars that define our view of what sustainability means, and a range of programs and investments to turn these pillars into practical action – both inside Atlas and in the locations and communities where we operate and where our projects are built.

Q. How do you put these aims into practice?

A. Incorporating social sustainability and community benefits into renewable energy projects is a major focus for us. We develop and design our social investment projects hand in hand with the communities where we operate, via a participatory process where the communities themselves identify their social and economic development needs.

One recent example is Project Carmen at our La Pimienta Solar Plant in Mexico. This program, in partnership with the local health authorities, brought accessible healthcare to the nearby communities through the construction, rehabilitation and equipment of two health centers. Atlas also supported the community with the installation of dry bathrooms and wood-saving stoves for over 40 families.

We are also committed to advocating for gender equality. Through our flagship program, We Are All Part of the Same Energy, we create opportunities for female workers training programs and dedicated hiring policies to reduce inequalities and promote the acquisition of skills and technical knowledge for women in what is still a male-dominated industry.

Using market studies, we identify skill gaps and job opportunities and then design our training to meet those needs. We then work to include a proportion of the women trained either into our supply chains and mobilize our contractors to prioritize their inclusion in their hiring process or facilitate linkages with other industries in our area of influence.

Beyond gender equality, we are also committed to diversity and inclusion. We operate across diverse markets and, as a result, we are cognizant of the need to tailor our approach to the societal backdrop of the area in which we operate to have the greatest impact.

One example of this is our Jacarandá project in Brazil. Our hiring policies for that project have been structured to ensure that at least 35% of the total workforce is made up of self proclaimed African descent, who are often excluded from employment opportunities because of racial discrimination. To date, 74% of the women and 79% of the men currently employed at Jacarandá are of African descent. 

At that same site, we also worked with the community to elevate and celebrate their cultural heritage, which culminated in the publication of Memorias do povo do terreiro, a collection of stories about the African religious heritage in contemporary Brazil.

We also practice what we preach within our own organization: through our recruitment policy and talent and mentoring programs, we have created an internal culture that embraces equal opportunities, non-discrimination, and respect for diversity.

Q. How does Atlas leverage its sustainability strategy to enable its clients to achieve their own objectives?

A. We have made a firm commitment to environmental protection, sustainable economic growth and social wellbeing, and we have incorporated this commitment across our values, policies and programs. Around the world, corporations are increasingly becoming aware of the urgency of adopting ambitious sustainability goals, be that reducing CO2 emissions and greening their energy matrix, or developing pioneering and ambitious social community engagement programs to promote diversity and inclusion. In this regard, Atlas is a vital strategic partner. Beyond the emissions reduction benefits of implementing a clean energy solution, our projects provide clients with the opportunity to maximize their positive impact across pillars such as bolstering quality education, increasing female participation in the workforce, and enhancing sustainable living and the circular economy.

Our recent partnership with leading materials science company Dow is a good illustration of this. Not only does the contract to secure renewable power capacity contribute to achieving one of Dow’s goals to obtain 750 MW of its power demand from renewable sources and reduce its net annual emissions by 15% from 2020 to 2030, but we were also able to align with Dow’s ESG principles that encourage economic growth and social development.

We believe every business should be a sustainable business, and by bringing the capabilities from our investments into ESG, diversity and inclusion to our clients, we can accompany them on their journey to creating a better future for all.

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Otherwise known as the Conferences of the Parties (COP), the UN Climate Change Conference has taken place every year since 1995. It’s publicized as an important event in the global political calendar, carving out the space for politicians, experts, private sector stakeholders, and civil society groups to find ways to tackle the issue of climate change. 

However, despite meeting every year for the past 27 years, world leaders have not been able to curb global warming, as evidenced by the fact that global surface temperatures have steadily increased by 0.2°C per decade in the past 30 years

From 1990 to 2019, the total warming effect from greenhouse gases added by humans to the Earth’s atmosphere increased by 45%.

Notably, COP27 saw fewer world leaders in attendance in comparison to last year’s summit, which leads many to question not only the effectiveness of this type of political get-together, but also the willingness of politicians the world over to actually acknowledge the importance of climate action. 

Whose responsibility is it?

The Paris Agreement (signed by 196 parties during 2015’s COP21 in Paris) is perhaps the most recognizable measure taken by COP members to lay down ground rules and specific goals, which need to be met on both national and international levels. Importantly, the Paris Agreement also included the capacity of countries to cooperate in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. 

Climate change is a global emergency that goes beyond national borders. It is an issue that requires international cooperation and coordinated solutions at all levels.
United Nations 

Cooperation between nations is imperative in order to tackle this global issue, but it’s vitally important to recognize the discrepancy of cause and effect between countries: most greenhouse emissions come from developed nations, while developing countries, who have contributed the least to global warming, are paying the highest price by finding themselves at the front lines of natural disasters. 

Loss and damage, and climate justice

With COP27 having taken place in Egypt, conference attendees couldn’t help but focus on developing markets, which are some of the most vulnerable despite being among the lowest emitters of greenhouse gases. Generally, countries that bear the brunt of climate-related disasters (floods, droughts, fires) often do not have the resources needed to recover. 

That’s why one of the most important points of discussion during COP27 was the idea that developed nations should provide financial support so as to address this imbalance. Despite long-time opposition from the US and the EU, the conference closed with a breakthrough agreement to provide “loss and damage” funding for vulnerable countries hit hard by climate disasters – marking an important step in the right direction towards climate justice. 

“This outcome moves us forward,” said Simon Stiell, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary. “We have determined a way forward on a decades-long conversation on funding for loss and damage – deliberating over how we address the impacts on communities whose lives and livelihoods have been ruined by the very worst impacts of climate change.”

The goals that matter most

While climate change is a global issue, countries are held individually accountable by way of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The Paris Agreement does not specifically define the actions that each country must take to meet their NDCs, but it does stipulate that all countries must provide an update on their progress every five years. 

The benchmarks towards progress are there, but the lines are blurred enough that countries such as Switzerland are finding ways to finance green projects outside of their own borders and taking credit for reduced emissions, without necessarily changing their own policies or reducing their own national footprint. 

By allowing these tactics, which conflate international collaboration with national responsibility, the COP and Paris Agreement risk losing credibility. Already, many participating governments face accusations of greenwashing from think tanks, NGOs, and civil society groups. It’s important to stress the role that civil society plays, most of all, in holding larger players accountable, because real change can only be said to have taken place once civil society benefits. 

An ESG approach is the only way to measure lasting impact, since it looks out for the benefit of society, as much as the benefit of the environment and the economic bottom line. It’s no longer enough to simply make pledges – it’s time for real action. Read more on how businesses can avoid greenwashing and act for real change, here.

From pledge to practice 

According to Climate Action Tracker, an independent scientific analysis that tracks government climate action and measures it against the agreed-upon Paris Agreements, only 21 countries submitted their updated national climate commitments one week prior to COP27. 

If we are to continue counting on mechanisms like COP and the Paris Agreement, it’s important to question their effectiveness. Operating in a gray area, the Agreement is legally binding, but there are no penalties for countries that don’t meet their targets. 

The geopolitical crisis of 2022 has certainly pushed governments to embrace more alternative energy sources, and we have seen some historic measures in support of green energy (most notably, Biden’s IRA). However, many EU countries have also ramped up coal-fired power generation, in addition to forming new deals with countries in Africa to explore new gas fields. 

All this in spite of the warnings by the International Energy Agency that any more fossil fuel development will definitely lead to a climate breakdown

However, there are reasons for optimism. According to recent data released by energy think-tank Ember, global electricity demand growth was met entirely by renewable power in the first half of 2022, demonstrating that the world can be powered without fossil fuels – as long as the will to do so exists. 

From public to private 

As governments fall short of their pledges, the private sector is determinedly shifting towards sustainable initiatives. More and more, investors are seeking stability, which forces them to look at issues and factors beyond traditional financial analysis. 

The concept of sustainable financing goes hand in hand with environmental and social impact assessment. Climate change features prominently within sustainable finance considerations, because there are lots of risk factors involved when it comes to global warming. These can include physical risks, such as damages from weather-related events. Although these may be difficult to quantify, insurance losses from climate-related natural disasters are said to be four times higher than 40 years ago. 

It’s no wonder that growing numbers of influential companies are joining the RE100 initiative, a global corporate renewable energy movement. 

In general, global energy investments are set to increase by 8% in 2022, with most of these being directed towards green energy. But while COP26 was seen as the conference to shift more of the weight from governments towards the private sector, it’s up to this year’s COP27 to further define the parameters by which the private sector can best finance the energy transition. 

Leading examples

On the road towards net zero, we believe it’s important to be critical, while also taking note of good practices. Projects such as the ones below are leading by example, affecting change on a regional level, and inspiring change on a global scale.   

CountryProjectWhat sets it apart 
EcuadorRights of Nature The first country in the world to recognize the rights of nature in its constitution, setting a precedent for others to do the same. 
European UnionThe European Climate LawMakes the EU’s commitment to reaching climate neutrality by 2050 legally binding, and sets an intermediate target of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.
United StatesPresident’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience, PREPAREThe United States is rapidly increasing its support of adaptation and resilience programming to help more than half a billion people in developing countries adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change.

Moving forward

One of the benefits of having a global summit for climate change is how it sets up, on a world stage, the call for urgent climate action. Goals such as net zero by 2050, for example, solidify a narrative that places the future at our doorstep. 

The fact remains that temperatures continue to rise. It’s also a fact that the energy sector has a major impact on climate, as it accounts for roughly two thirds of all greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, energy needs continue to grow. 

A clean energy strategy is therefore a surefire way to meet national (public and private) and international net zero targets. Why not work with Atlas, on the road to meeting those targets? 

Atlas Renewable Energy was conceived with sustainability at its core. It develops, builds, finances, and operates clean renewable energy projects that enable companies to power their operations sustainably.

With a range of services, from renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) to renewable energy certificates (RECs), Atlas helps large energy consumers across industries manage their transition to net zero and track their performance against long-term environmental and emissions targets.

To find out more about Atlas Renewable Energy’s approach and how it can align your company with net zero, please contact:

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Brazil is the biggest electricity market in Latin America and one of the largest in electricity generation capacity in the world. The current electricity market design in Brazil is a combination of regulated and free markets along with a reserve energy market and contains numerous complexities – but also several opportunities. One of those is self-generation – the production of electricity for companies’ own consumption.

Figures from Brazil’s Energy Research Office (EPE) show that since 2009, the installed capacity of self-generators in Brazil has more than doubled to over 25.3 GW, and for good reason: self-generation enables companies to cut costs, reduce risks of lack of supply and increase the sustainability of their activities.

Lucas Salgado, senior commercial manager at Atlas Renewable Energy, explains the trend and outlines how companies with operations in Brazil can take advantage of self-generation to achieve their energy strategy goals, without having to become experts in the electricity market.

Q: What are the benefits of self-generation of electricity?

A: In Brazil, self-generation has a very clear economic benefit, including savings on sectorial charges like CDE (Conta de Desenvolvimento Energético), CCC (Conta de Consumo de Combustíveis), and Proinfa. Companies can also benefit from incentivized energy and have a 50% discount on transmission or distribution tariffs (see graphic below). This tax applies to electricity consumption, and the rate differs by region and by voltage level. This can represent a saving of as much as 25% on a company’s energy tariff. Beyond the economic benefits, though, self-generation can enable companies to achieve their sustainability goals, since they are supporting the energy transition by investing in renewable energy and can benefit from carbon credits or renewable energy certificates (RECs).

Q: How does self-generation work in Brazil?

A: Industrial self-generators are large energy consumers who build power plants that totally or partially meet their own demands. In Brazil, this has often been in the shape of mining companies that run their own hydropower and thermal power facilities to power their operations, although in recent years there has been a transition to wind and photovoltaic complexes. Nowadays, consumers can enter special-purpose partnerships with electricity producers that enable them to become shareholders in an electricity project, making them self-generators in their own right. A model that has already benefited companies from multiple sectors such as metallurgy, chemical, retail, and data centers as shown on the recent PPAs Atlas has celebrated with Albras and Unipar Carbocloro.

Q: How do these special-purpose partnerships work?

A: Essentially, they create a framework whereby Atlas and the Customer co-invest together in a company, and Atlas can handle the EPC and the financing until reaching the COD of the project, safely based on Atlas’ track record and housed in our proprietary portfolio.

Q: At what phase in the construction and development of a renewable energy project can companies enter into a self-generation partnership?

A: They can enter at any phase of the project and the decision of what point of the project the off-taker will invest in will depend on their risk assessment. We are prepared to support the off-taker at any point in their decision of this process.

Q: Do companies need to be large energy consumers to benefit from self-generation?

A: Our clients do still tend to be the large consumers in sectors such as mining and chemicals, and we’re seeing growth in the green hydrogen sector, too. Usually, projects range from 400 to 700 megawatts of power capacity. However, using the partnership structure, Atlas can offer self-generation to smaller energy consumers. By doing this, we are democratizing access to the self-generation market, and enabling it to reach scale.

Q: Do companies need to be physically located near the power plant?

A: No, the plant doesn’t need to be on-site, and nor does it have to be in the same price market within Brazil. We can offer a portfolio in whichever state or price market best suits the client – one example is the Albras self-generation PPA project that we signed recently. In this case, the client is located in the north of Brazil, while our PV plant is located in the southeastern energy submarket of the country.

We manage the risks for them and deliver the energy into their price market. Our solutions are as tailor-made as possible based on our development portfolio. For example, solar projects in different regions can meet the energy needs of different industrial facilities, but we can also carry out long-term swaps both within our internal energy portfolio and with trading companies to give the client what they need, which is usually 100% renewable energy in the same price market as their industrial plants.

Another interesting factor for our clients is the ESG and sustainability aspect that we embed into each of our projects. This means that as self-generators in partnership with us, clients are not only investors in a renewable energy project, but they are also supporting initiatives that positively impact their community and be part of all of them through our ESG services.

Q: What do companies need to bear in mind when choosing a partner for a self-generation project?

A: First of all, having a partner that understands the legal and regulatory landscape is absolutely vital. Proposed legal changes on the horizon could impact the ability of companies to take advantage of the benefits of self-generation, so there really is a window of opportunity here, but companies need to move quickly.  Second, is key to establish a partnership with a company with a strong implementation track-record. A company that is able to develop, finance, and build a large renewable cluster.

This is also a long-term partnership. Some of the key aspects to look out for are the ability of your producer to be able to manage your energy risks, and that the project can be implemented on time. At Atlas, our approach is to engage the whole company in the process. Our finance team talks with the client’s finance team; our legal team talks with the client’s legal team, and so on. This is a joint venture, and there needs to be alignment and trust between both sides.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a large multinational or a smaller energy consumer, you need to have your whole operation engaged in this process because there can be accounting issues, legal issues, and regulatory issues. It is a complex process, but, with the right partner, the benefits it can provide definitely make it worthwhile.

In partnership with Castleberry Media, we are committed to taking care of our planet, therefore, this content is responsible with the environment.