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The company has been recognized for its commitment to Diversity and Inclusion, implementing a social program to help close the gender gap in the renewable energy sector.

Miami, FL, Oct. 22, 2021 – Atlas Renewable Energy, an international renewable energy developer, has been awarded IJGlobal’s 2020 ESG Energy Deal of the Year (Americas) and ESG Social Award. The recognitions were announced on Thursday, Oct. 21, at IJGlobal’s award ceremony in London. According to IJGlobal, these two recognitions were awarded to Atlas due to the company’s true commitment to diversity and inclusion by implementing a social program aimed at closing the gender gap in the renewable energy sector.

The ESG Social Award was awarded to Atlas’ program “We are all part of the same energy” a social initiative that has been rolled out in Brazil, Chile and Mexico, and which is implemented during the construction phase of the solar projects the company is currently developing in these countries.

The program aims to upskill the local female workforce with training that will grant them access to opt for more technical jobs within the construction of the projects. At the same time, Atlas mobilized its contractors to prioritize the trainees in their hiring process. This initiative has become Atlas’ flagship social program and it’s aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (#5 – Gender Equality, #8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth, #10 – Reduce Inequalities and #12 – Responsible Consumption and Production).

To this date, nearly 1000 women have been trained in different fields, such as civil construction, carpentry, health and safety, module mounting, electricity, among others. This has allowed us to increase female participation in the construction of the projects from a typical 2% to a 15%.

“We Are All Part of the Same Energy” is expected to be implemented in the company’s new upcoming projects so that more women can benefit from these trainings and find new career pathways.

The Jacaranda Solar Plant in Brazil was also recognized by IJGlobal with the Solar Deal of the Year Award (Americas) due to the successful implementation of the program “We are all part of the same energy” during the construction of the project.

During this time more than 214 women were trained in technical skills. Out of the women who were trained, 123 were hired to become part of the construction of Jacaranda. In total, 159 women were hired, which represented 17% of the total hired labor in Jacaranda during peak construction work. The project also focused on hiring underrepresented groups such as the afro-descendant population in the state of Bahia, which formed most of the total workforce, 85% afro-descendant men and 83% afro-descendant women.

“It’s an honor to have our female workforce program ‘We Are All Part of the Same Energy’ and its implementation in the Jacaranda Solar Project recognized by IJGlobal,” said Maria Jose Cortes, Head of ESG at Atlas Renewable Energy. “Creating and implementing this program has been an amazing experience for all of us at Atlas, it has helped us open a door to new opportunities for women in rural areas in Latin America and change paradigms. We are very proud of this, but we know there is still much to do in terms of D&I. We hope this program plants the seed for more inclusive practices in our industry and in the communities where we operate.”

About Atlas Renewable Energy

Atlas Renewable Energy is a renewable energy generation company that develops, builds and operates renewable energy projects with long-term contracts across the Americas. The current company portfolio is 2.2GW of contracted projects in development, construction or operational stages, and aims to expand by an additional 4GW in the next years.

Launched in early 2017, Atlas Renewable Energy includes an experienced team with the longest track record in the solar energy industry in Latin America. The company is recognized for its high standards in the development, construction and operation of large-scale projects.

Atlas Renewable Energy is part of the Energy Fund IV, founded by Actis, a leading private equity investor in the energy sector. Atlas Renewable Energy’s growth is focused on the leading emerging markets and economies, using its proven development, commercialization and structuring know-how to accelerate the transformation toward clean energy. By actively engaging with the community and stakeholders at the center of its project strategy, the company works every day to provide a cleaner future.

To know more about Atlas Renewable Energy, visit: www.atlasrenewableenergy.com

For the first time in history, this year’s Olympic flame, which burned at Tokyo’s National Stadium Olympic Cauldron in the Games’ opening and closing ceremonies, was sustained by hydrogen.

The gas was created through the electrolysis of water using solar power, creating a truly green fuel that creates no emissions – unlike the propane and butane that are traditionally used at the Olympics.

As awareness grows around the use of so-called green hydrogen, Daniel Garcia, Commercial Senior Manager at Atlas Renewable Energy, explains the benefits of this fuel, and how it can be part of the energy matrix as the world looks ahead to a cleaner, more sustainable future.

What makes green hydrogen “green”?

Hydrogen fuel is made by separating the gas from fossil fuels, or splitting it out from water. Although today, hydrogen is already being used on an industrial scale, the electricity used to produce it is almost entirely supplied from natural gas and coal. As a result, today, hydrogen fuel production is currently responsible for 830 million tons of CO2 emissions per year – which is the same as the CO2 emissions of the United Kingdom and Indonesia combined.

This is clearly not sustainable, which is why we need green hydrogen. Produced through renewable energy, green hydrogen is extracted from water via electrolysis, making it a zero-carbon fuel. As the  International Energy Agency stated, thanks to declining costs for renewable electricity, in particular from solar PV and wind, there is now growing interest in green hydrogen, and as a result, we believe that green hydrogen can make a significant contribution to the clean energy transition.

In what industries and applications can green hydrogen be used?

One of green hydrogen’s most suitable applications is for processes where hydrogen is already required. An example of this is in oil refineries, where hydrogen is used in the processing of most refined products – it’s normally obtained from the natural gas that is already extracted from the wells. Each ton of H2 produced with natural gas produces 9.3 tons of CO2, so replacing this with onsite green hydrogen production could have a dramatic impact on emissions.

Fertilizer production is another key area for the application of green hydrogen. Currently, fertilizer production facilities separate hydrogen from natural gas and combine it with nitrogen to make ammonia, but we’re starting to see the fertilizer industry begin to use electricity from photovoltaic plants to split water into oxygen and hydrogen instead, which is an encouraging sign.

One of the most interesting possibilities is in long-haul transport. Although the trend is towards the electrification of transport, the available technology currently covers short to medium range journeys of up to around 500km. Hydrogen fuel cells have been used to send rockets into space since the 1950s, and in the heavy-duty transport industry, hydrogen will likely be the solution for long-range mobility, particularly in sectors such as mining. 

Is green hydrogen competitive with fossil fuels?

When we think about green hydrogen’s competitive advantage versus fossil fuels we have to take two main factors into consideration: the price of the fuel and the climate benefit. 

Regions with high fossil fuel costs and abundant renewable resources are the most suitable for green hydrogen to replace fossil fuels at first. For example, in the US, there are numerous regions with very good wind and solar power resources, however, because of low shale gas prices it is difficult for green hydrogen to compete against fossil fuels on price alone. In Europe meanwhile, not only is there abundant wind energy but natural gas prices are also far higher, which means green hydrogen is a more competitive option.

The climate benefit is a much easier sell. Green hydrogen generates no emissions, and as governments around the world set net-zero targets for industries, and amid the growing trend towards the implementation of carbon taxes, we think that green hydrogen, alongside other renewable energy sources, will become an obvious choice. 

What does the growth in green hydrogen mean for the renewable energy sector?

According to research by Goldman Sachs, green hydrogen could supply up to 25% of the world’s energy needs by 2050. We’ve already seen numerous countries, from Australia to Chile, Germany, the EU, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain and South Korea, publish national hydrogen strategies, and the fuel has a promising future in cutting emissions from the world’s most carbon-intensive industries.

Last year, the United Nations launched the Green Hydrogen Catapult Initiative in a bid to increase the production of green hydrogen 50-fold in the next six years. Replacing all of the world’s non-green hydrogen with green hydrogen would require 3,000 TWh per year from new renewables, boosting demand for solar and wind projects around the world.

What is the future outlook for the green hydrogen market? 

Green hydrogen is far from a niche solution. We believe it’s worth paying attention to, because it solves important CO2 emissions appropriately and effectively. Its growth curve has only just begun: a large part of what makes green hydrogen competitive is the cost of renewables and its efficiency, and because we haven’t reached the full potential yet in these aspects, we believe that green hydrogen will become increasingly more competitive every year.

In the short term, we expect to see a proliferation of on-site green hydrogen solutions, in areas such as natural resources and petrochemicals. Some other solutions where it can be mixed with other fuels, such as natural gas, will also emerge in the medium term. The biggest challenge for green hydrogen is to achieve competitive transportation costs, and then is when it will reach its maximum potential in terms of greenhouse emissions reduction.

When the world locked down it also logged on, and the rapid digital adoption brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic will continue into the recovery – and beyond. But powering the new digital normal sustainably means taking a long hard look at the energy we use, and as companies are increasingly forced to report on climate emissions all the way along their value chains, they can no longer afford to ignore the environmental impact of the new digital economy.

Covid-19 turned digitization from a “nice to have” to a “must have”, and many of the quick fixes humanity came up with to keep the economy going during pandemic lockdowns look to be here for the long haul.

As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella put it at the beginning of 2020, two years’ worth of digital transformation happened in two months – and the momentum has continued. Millions of people around the world have been introduced to online services including mobile banking, telemedicine, food delivery, online education, e-commerce, digital streaming services, and social media – and they don’t want to go back.

According to a global survey of executives conducted by McKinsey, companies around the world have sped up the implementation of remote working and collaboration capabilities by as much as a factor of 43 compared to business-as-usual estimates without the crisis. They’ve also accelerated the adoption of digital technologies for advancements in operations and business decision-making by a factor of 25.

And even though many businesses are now implementing phased returns to the office, more flexible working structures are to be expected in the future, with a sizeable proportion of employees saying they want to work from home more often. 

The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we work, shop, and conduct our day-to-day lives. 

Electric clouds

This flight to digital means a huge upswing in investment into Information and Communications Technology (ICT). A recent report by KPMG found that two-thirds of global organizations have accelerated their digital transformation strategy, with 63% boosting their digital transformation budget. As a result, according to research by Western Union and Oxford Economics, the value of ICT services is projected to increase by 35% by 2025.

These ICT services – networks, servers, storage, and applications – are overwhelmingly based in the cloud. Take-up of cloud computing is forecast to increase exponentially, from US$1.3bn in 2019 to US$12.5bn by 2030, according to BloombergNEF.

This new, cloud-based digital economy is fueled by electricity – and lots of it. Just one data center can use enough electricity to power 80,000 US households, and collectively, these spaces currently account for approximately 2% of total US electricity use.

The carbon emissions from tech infrastructure and the data servers that enable cloud computing are now greater than those caused by air travel pre-Covid, according to a report from The Shift Project. And with IT-sector-related electricity demand expected to increase by nearly 50% by 2030, the French think tank says these emissions could continue to grow at a rate of 6% every year. 

Big tech goes green

Last September, Google pledged to power all of its data centers and campuses with “carbon-free energy” – such as solar – 24 hours a day, by 2030. Microsoft has made a similar commitment – saying that it will be “carbon negative” by 2030. Amazon, which runs the AWS Global Cloud Infrastructure that provides the backbone for much of the world’s websites, said that it, too, will aim for “net zero” by 2040.

However, not all of the pledges being made by technology service providers are equal. There are many ways to reach “net zero”, but not all of them have an equivalent impact on climate change.

To tackle this, a growing number of tech service providers have committed to power purchase agreements (PPAs) that include an additional requirement. These not only ensure the generation of new renewable supply but also come with a certificate of origin stating that 100% of the energy used within the facility is derived from renewable sources.

This isn’t just good for the environment – it’s good for costs, too. Ultimately, renewable energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels in most markets, and because electricity is the main outlay for data center service providers, by using solar or wind power, they can keep costs down in the face of soaring demand.

Scope 3 emissions

Oftentimes, data centers are sited many miles away from their end-users. But this doesn’t mean that companies can afford to ignore them. The new Scope 3 emissions reporting requirements mean that corporations now need to calculate their entire greenhouse gas footprints from everything involved in their business – including upstream suppliers and downstream functions.

If a business uses technology – and, thanks to the rapid digitalization brought about by Covid, this means almost every business – now needs to account for the emissions associated with the companies that deliver their software and services.

Numerous cloud computing services providers have begun to provide insights into the carbon emissions of their infrastructure, to help companies make more sustainable decisions. The Microsoft Sustainability Calculator, for example, enables companies to quantify the carbon impact of each Azure enrollment, while Google Cloud has launched a new Carbon-Free Energy Percentage (CFE%) tool that lets users see which data centers are cleanest and allocate workloads, where possible, accordingly.

A sustainable digital future

At Atlas, although we accept that the digital economy will require significantly more energy in the future, we don’t believe it necessarily has to lead to more CO2 emissions. There is another way – and, as we’ve discussed already, some tech leaders are already charting a path forward.

As more and more companies join the post-Covid digital revolution, it is vital that they be aware of the climate impact this entails, and take steps to reduce it where possible. By selecting technology service providers that are transparent about their energy usage and that have committed to using 100% renewable electricity, companies can play a role in ensuring that the new digital economy is as sustainable as possible.

Atlas Renewable Energy’s Lar do Sol-Casablanca II project will have an installed capacity of 239MWp and will provide solar energy to Unipar´s factories in Brazil

Sao Paulo, July 16, 2021 Atlas Renewable Energy, an international leading renewable energy company, along with Unipar, a leader in chlorine, chlorides, and PVC in South America, announced today the signing of a large-scale solar energy power purchase agreement (PPA) in Brazil. The clean solar energy supply will be generated through Atlas Renewable Energy’s Lar do Sol – Casablanca II photovoltaic plant located in Pirapora, State of Minas Gerais.

The Lar do Sol – Casablanca II Solar Plant, which will occupy about 700 hectares, will have an installed capacity of 239MWp with 460,000 solar panels. The plant will host bi-facial module technology, which uses the reflection of the sun’s rays from their front and back sides, increasing the efficiency of the photoelectric conversion and enhancing the overall production of the plant. The project is expected to generate enough energy to supply two of Unipar´s factories, located in Brazil.

Lar do Sol Casablanca II’s yearly energy generation will be the equivalent of supplying energy to about 261,662 households, according to the average consumption of a Brazilian family. Moreover, the plant will approximately avoid 40,500 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year. This calculation is based on the GHG (Green House Gases) Protocol, methodology developed by the World Resources Institute which follows the methods used by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). This amount of CO2 emissions prevented will be the equivalent to removing 16,200 vehicles from the streets of Sao Paulo.

The Lar do Sol – Casablanca II Solar Plant will be developed, built and operated by Atlas Renewable Energy, whose track record and expertise in Latin America has positioned it as one of the fastest-growing renewable energy companies in the Americas and as an essential player in the energy sector in the region. The project adds to Atlas’ rapidly expanding footprint in the Brazilian market with a total of 6 large-scale solar plants amounting to over 1GW. The signing of this long-term agreement with Unipar, one of Brazil’s largest chemical companies, attests to Atlas’ ability to partner with private companies to help them achieve their carbon emission reduction goals as they transition towards a cleaner source of energy.

“The adoption of renewables is becoming a staple of good corporate responsibility and we at Atlas offer a unique opportunity for large energy consumers to clean their energy matrix and at the same time be sponsors of the social and environmental programs we develop to uplift the communities where we operate,” said Luis Pita, General Manager of Atlas Renewable Energy for Brazil. “This contract is a testament to our company leadership in the renewable energy sector in Brazil, as we continue to implement tailor-made solutions with top-of-the-line technologies, elevating industry standards and providing a competitive edge to our clients. It’s an honor to be working with a national chemical leader such as Unipar and partner with them to advance their sustainability goals.”

Mauricio Russomanno, CEO at Unipar, says the agreement takes part in the company’s commitment to the country’s future and the business’s sustainability. “This is one more move towards sustainable solutions that improve the company’s efforts in the search for energy matrices from renewable sources, guaranteeing access to the essential input for our operation and generating greater competitivity through self-production. The total amount of generated energy destined to Unipar will be enough to produce chlorine for the water treatment to over 60 million people”, declares the executive.

As part of Atlas Renewable Energy’s commitment to the areas where it operates, the construction of the Lar do Sol – Casablanca II Solar Plant is set to contract about 1,200 workers in the peak of its activity. The company will also be executing a series of environmental and social programs including the female workforce program “we are all part of the same energy”. The program focuses on the promotion of inclusive practices by empowering the local female workforce through training. With this, Atlas has a goal of having at least 15% female representation in the total workforce during the plant’s construction. This initiative will allow local women to have access to new job opportunities within the project’s construction, generate an opportunity for their economic stability and enhance their skillsets and potential by integrating them into more technical jobs.

About Atlas Renewable Energy

Atlas Renewable Energy is a renewable energy generation company that develops, builds, and operates renewable energy projects with long-term contracts across the Americas. The current company portfolio is 2.35GW of contracted projects in development, construction, or operational stages, and aims to expand by an additional 5GW in the next years.

Launched in early 2017, Atlas Renewable Energy includes an experienced team with the longest track record in the solar energy industry in Latin America. The company is recognized for its high standards in the development, construction, and operation of large-scale projects.

Atlas Renewable Energy is part of the Energy Fund IV, founded by Actis, a leading private equity investor in the energy sector. Atlas Renewable Energy’s growth is focused on the leading emerging markets and economies, using its proven development, commercialization, and structuring know-how to accelerate the transformation toward clean energy. By actively engaging with the community and stakeholders at the center of its project strategy, the company works every day to provide a cleaner future.

To know more about Atlas Renewable Energy, visit: www.atlasrenewableenergy.com

About Unipar

Unipar is a leader in chlorine, chlorides, and PVC in South America, raw material that forms the basis of all industries and is traded on the Brazilian Stock Exchange (B3 S.A. – Brazil, Bolsa, Balcão).

With around 1,400 employees working in its offices and industrial plants in Cubatão (SP) and Santo André (SP), in Brazil, and Bahía Blanca, in Argentina, Unipar is focused on quality, safety, respect for the environment, community integration, and its recognition collaborators.

Throughout its 50 years of history, Unipar has been connected and integrated with the local communities through its Community Advisory Council, which brings together neighbors, social entities, and company representatives. In addition, it is a pioneer in the implementation of the Open Factory Program, which keeps its plants open to visitors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.

Contact Unipar

FSB Comunicação

(11) 3165-9596

unipar@fsb.com.br

Contact Atlas Renewable Energy

Jeffrey Group

(11) 9943-46870

npadilha@jeffreygroup.com

Electric vehicles (EVs) are one of the most promising technologies for reducing emissions in global transportation, but the benefits they bring depend on the provenance of the power they run on. Today, too few EVs are powered by renewable energy. For them to be a truly green option, this has to change.

The EV revolution is upon us. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the number of electricity-powered passenger vehicles on the world’s roads could surpass 250 million by 2030, while the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates that electric buses and other mass transit vehicles could number well over 10 million.

Because they have an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine, EVs emit no exhaust from a tailpipe, which means that, unlike traditional vehicles, they don’t pump carbon dioxide, ozone, and particulate pollution into the air we breathe.

This is important, because transport accounts for around one-fifth of global emissions, with road travel accounting for fully three-quarters of that amount. The majority of this comes from passenger vehicles – cars and buses – which contribute 45.1%. The other 29.4% comes from trucks carrying freight.

Moreover, this number is only set to increase, as population growth and demographic shifts drive ever more demand for road travel – not to mention the rise in e-commerce pushing up the need for freight and last-mile delivery.

With the World Health Organization (WHO) estimating that air pollution causes one in every nine deaths worldwide, transforming our global transportation matrix to one run by EVs would all but guarantee a safer and greener future for everyone – or would it?

Dirty power

EVs need anywhere between 24 and 50kWh of electricity to travel 100 miles, and this electricity comes from the grid. With a US Department of Energy study showing that increased electrification will boost national consumption by as much as 38% by 2050, in large part because of electric vehicles, in some cases, EVs could result in substantial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or even help extend the life of fossil fuels, if charged primarily with fossil fuel-generated power.

In fact, a recent study by China’s Tsinghua University found that EVs charged in China – where a majority of electricity comes from coal-fired power plants – contribute two to five times as much particulate matter and chemicals versus gas-engine cars. 

Essentially, unless the electricity that powers EVs is clean, EVs can never be a fully green option.

With the vast number of EVs that are projected to come online in the coming years, it is crucial that both users and utilities find a way to charge them with renewable energy sources. Indeed, EVs might be the key to linking the renewable power and low-carbon transport sectors, for the good of everyone.

Making EVs the largest renewable buyers

By 2030, the amount of electricity needed to power all the EVs will be a whopping 640TWh. To put that into perspective, the over 300 global corporations that have signed the RE100 pledge to go 100% renewable purchase in aggregate around 220TWh a year – or just over a third of that amount. 

This creates a major opportunity to position EVs as one of the biggest buyers of renewable electricity globally. Not only that but the electricity needs of EVs could be harnessed to drive the roll-out of more renewable capacity around the world.

The model already exists: corporate procurement of renewable energy via bilateral power purchase agreements (PPAs) has created significant voluntary demand for new renewable energy projects worldwide. Last year, corporations purchased a record 23.7 GW of clean energy, up from 20.1GW in 2019 and 13.6GW in 2018, according to new research published by BloombergNEF (BNEF) – and this came in spite of the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing global recession.

Through PPAs, EV original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), charge point operators, electric mobility service providers, and the growing number of companies that are committing to switching their vehicle fleets over to EVs can both develop seamless green solutions for the future, as well as facilitate the development of new renewable energy projects – which will, in turn, bring the world closer to meeting the Paris Agreement targets.

Not just the electricity they run on

It isn’t only the juice that powers the vehicles’ batteries that’s important. Half of the lifecycle emissions from the lithium batteries in EVs come from the electricity used to assemble and manufacture them, which means that the electricity mix at OEM facilities is also a key part of the equation. A recent study by IVL, the Swedish environmental institute, found that lithium batteries produced in regions with a zero-carbon grid had emissions of 61kg of CO2 equivalent per kWh of battery capacity (CO2e/kWh). This figure more than doubles – to 146kg – when the electricity used in battery manufacture comes from fossil fuel.  

The climate benefit of EVs, therefore, doesn’t just depend on how green the electricity used to charge their battery is, but also on the carbon intensity of the electricity used to make that battery – creating yet another imperative for EV manufacturers to switch to renewable energy. 

A stable grid

The rise in the adoption of EVs can also drive the growth of renewable energy in other ways. Private cars spend 95% of their time parked, and energy planners are looking at ways to utilize this dead time to solve one of the biggest problems for scaling up renewable grids: stability.

“EVs at scale can create vast electricity storage capacity,” says Dolf Gielen, director of IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Centre. “Smart charging, which both charges vehicles and supports the grid, unlocks a virtuous circle in which renewable energy makes transport cleaner and EVs support larger shares of renewables.”

The technology to make this happen is still in its infancy – so far, the Nissan Leaf is the only mass-production EV on the market that enables vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging. However, at Atlas we’re pleased to see more OEMs starting to consider this capability: for example, Hyundai, Kia, and Lucid all plan to include it in future vehicles.

With good planning and the right infrastructure, EVs can reduce emissions, replace polluting vehicles, and boost the roll-out of renewable energy infrastructure, and, when parked up and plugged in, act as battery banks, stabilizing electric grids powered by renewable solar energy. For renewable energy providers such as Atlas, this gives us the opportunity to provide ever-increasing amounts of clean electricity to a growing number of industrial sectors.

A driver of electrification 

As governments around the world unveil plans to end the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles, it won’t be too long until electric vehicles are the mainstay of both public and private transportation. From privately-owned electric cars to commercial taxi fleets and self-driving electric buses, EVs are fast redefining the market. 

What’s really exciting about this is what it means for overall electricity demand. IEA projections show that global electricity demand will grow by more than a third by 2040, mainly due to the adoption of EVs, which will take the electricity demand for transport from pretty much nothing to 4,000 TWh a year. This raises electricity’s share in total final energy consumption from 19% in 2018 to 31% in 2040, overtaking oil and leaving coal in the dust. 

At Atlas, we see this as an unprecedented opportunity to decarbonize the energy matrix. As EVs drive electrification, ensuring that this energy comes from renewable sources will take us another step closer to slashing power sector CO2 emissions and ensuring a more sustainable future.

EVs are here to stay, but for them to be truly a green option for the future of transportation, it is vital that we don’t miss the chance to link them with renewable energy. At Atlas, our bilateral PPA structure means that we can assist OEMs, charging infrastructure providers, and battery manufacturers in ensuring that EVs are a real green proposition, end to end. 

As a non-polluting and clean resource, renewable energy is key to a sustainable future. But beyond its environmental impacts, renewable energy can also contribute to social development, inclusion, diversity, and equity around the world.

In 2015, the United Nations Member States adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. To achieve goal number seven: ‘Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy’, countries must increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. But this is not the only way in which renewable energy will contribute to a better, more inclusive future for humankind.

INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT

By now, it’s common knowledge that the energy transition – from fossil fuels to renewables – will have a strong positive impact on GDP. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency’s latest Global Renewables Outlook, transforming the energy system could add a massive US$98tn to the world’s GDP – or the equivalent of two times the combined market capitalization of the entire US stock market.

But GDP growth only captures the economic gains, and renewable energy brings a lot more to the table. The deployment of renewable energy helps to diversify a country’s skill base, boost its industrial growth and support broad developmental priorities – as well as fostering positive environmental and health outcomes thanks to lower emissions and reduced pressure on ecosystems.

A FAIR SHOT

Around the world, under-resourced communities bear the brunt of climate change and emissions. In the US for example, the majority of Black neighborhoods experience higher levels of air pollution from fossil fuel electricity than majority-white neighborhoods, according to research by the American Lung Association

In addition, low-income families spend about three times more of their income on energy costs than other households, with Black, Hispanic, multifamily, and renter households particularly impacted.

Cleaner, cheaper renewable energy can not only stabilize these families’ energy bills but also clean up the air they breathe, helping to close the gaps between the haves and the have-nots in our communities.

“Solar can provide long-term financial relief to families struggling with high and unpredictable energy costs, living-wage jobs in an industry where the workforce has increased 168% over the past seven years, and a source of clean, local energy sited in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by traditional power generation” – the Solar Energy Industries Association

The growth of renewable energy also provides an unprecedented opportunity to address the challenge of unemployment in low-income communities. A recent study by the Brookings Institution shows that not only is employment in low-carbon energy fields better-paid than average jobs, but that it’s also accessible to workers who haven’t attained a college education, with clean energy workers at the lower end of the income spectrum in the US earning US$5 to US$10 more per hour than they would in other jobs. 

There is a place for everyone in the renewables industry, although there’s still work to be done: as is the case in many skilled trades, the gender balance of workers in the sector still skews heavily toward men. At Atlas, we see this as an opportunity to broaden the labor pool in the long run. A few of the actions we’ve taken include insisting that there is at least one female candidate in every recruitment shortlist, while our People team (traditionally known as Human Resources) provides regional staff with training to recognize unconscious bias, focusing on gender distinction as well as focusing on improving benefits to facilitate female reintegration to work after motherhood, as well as parental co-responsibility.

Out in the field, we’ve also developed a Female Workforce Program that aims to improve local women’s access to employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. This vocational program aims to upskill hundreds of women from nearby communities into qualified positions, both in our own operational supply chains and within other industries in our area of influence.

BEYOND THE SOCIAL LICENSE

Renewable energy projects are often built in rural and remote locations, which means that as well as being clean and green, they also have the opportunity to be at the forefront of best practice human rights and social impact due diligence. Solid guidelines – like the IFC Performance Standards and the Equator Principles – already exist to assist renewable project developers in implementing best practice procedures for stakeholder engagement.

Renewables development paves the way for environmentally and socially responsible companies to shine. When developers work hand in hand with local communities to ensure renewable energy projects will be good neighbors, the multiplier effect is immense – and we saw this first hand at our Guajiro plant in Mexico. Instead of parachuting in with a generic corporate social responsibility program, we sat down with the local communities to understand their needs, and co-created plans that would provide a shared purpose for everyone’s benefit. For Guajiro, this meant prioritizing local suppliers for services needed during the construction, which created a circular economy effect, creating significant economic opportunities in the community. We also partnered with The Pale Blue Dot, a Mexican organization that promotes the use of technology in schools and community centers. The implementation of this program gave 699 students from nearby communities internet access and an educational platform, helping to reduce the educational gap and promote digital literacy. 

Gaining a social license to operate goes beyond getting the permissions to build reliable energy infrastructure. Making a positive impact on local partners gives a project legitimacy, credibility, and trust – which means that more and more communities will welcome the development of renewable sites, for the benefit of all.

A JUST AND FAIR ENERGY TRANSITION

The rise of renewable energy brings clear socio-economic benefits, from greater workforce diversity, social inclusion, and better community health outcomes, and an increasing number of stakeholders want to see this potential reached to its fullest extent. In recent years, we’ve seen how project financiers now look at community engagement and outcomes when considering funding a project, while large corporations entering into long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) are keen to find developers who are in alignment with their diversity and inclusion values. 

We know that clean, renewable, sustainable energy is the future. As the energy transition gathers pace, we believe it’s time for the conversation to shift from a sole focus on economic and environmental aspects towards maximizing the social benefits that renewable energy can bring to bear.

Once upon a time, a company’s success was judged solely by its financial performance. But profits alone don’t paint the full picture of how well a firm is doing. As companies begin to respond to multiple stakeholders, sustainable leadership, which takes into account environment, society, and long-term development objectives, has become vital.

The global response to the Covid-19 crisis demonstrates the importance of people, the planet, and transparency in business decisions. As world leaders focus on policy and economic actions to help reset the economy, inclusive capitalism, an equitable recovery, and a greener future are now front and center.

For companies, this means it’s time to take a closer look at corporate sustainability strategies. 

“We must rethink what we mean by ‘capital’ in its many iterations, whether financial, environmental, social, or human. Today’s consumers increasingly expect companies to contribute to social welfare and the common good,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in December 2019 at the launch of the new Davos manifesto for a better kind of capitalism.

At that time, there was no indication of the tumultuous events that were about to rock the global economy to its core. However, a year and a half on, corporate leaders are beginning a journey of continuous improvement, shifting policies to make sustainability and social inclusion central to how they function.

STAKEHOLDER CAPITALISM

The corporate world has always been characterized by competition, with CEOs under pressure to prioritize profits and revenue at the expense of other variables. However, corporate leaders are now beginning to recognize that companies are not just profit-seeking entities, but also an important part of the social and environmental fabric.

In January this year, 60 business leaders, including the CEOs of Dow, Unilever, Nestlé, PayPal, Reliance Industries, and Sony, made a public commitment to the Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics, a set of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics and disclosures released by the World Economic Forum and its International Business Council (IBC) in September 2020, that measure long-term non-financial value creation for all stakeholders.

Signing his company up to the metrics, Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce said: “Today is another step forward in the growing impact of stakeholder capitalism. It’s not just about words, but about companies setting clear metrics, measuring our progress, and holding ourselves accountable. Only then we can provide long-term growth for our shareholders, build trust with all stakeholders, and truly improve the state of the world.”

Acknowledging that growth and productivity alone are not enough, without addressing inequality and the environment, the metrics include disclosures centered around four pillars: people, planet, prosperity, and principles of governance, and include areas such as greenhouse gas emissions, pay equality, and board diversity, among others.

AN ESG LENS

The climate conversation has been ongoing for some time, but over the past year, we have seen an increase in urgency, as wildfires and extreme weather events have highlighted the connection between our actions and the environment. Covid-19 also brought into focus how we depend on one another for our health. Meanwhile, as social justice and racial equality dominated discourse in the United States and beyond, we also saw the impact of doing too little to address inequities in our society.

The upheaval brought about by the events of 2020 offers an unprecedented opportunity to rethink how we do things, and the impetus for companies to lead on this has never been stronger.

SUSTAINABILITY WITHIN AS WELL AS OUTSIDE

It isn’t just companies’ impact on the world around them that matters. As quarantine and confinement orders kept the majority of the world’s workforce to their homes, business leaders also began to recognize the need to build a more resilient workforce, prioritizing wellbeing. 

At Atlas Renewable Energy, we have seen how this year has given us a unique opportunity to drive conversations around diversity and inclusion while taking into account the complex challenges of keeping a remote workforce together during a pandemic. 

As corporate citizens, we can make all the environmental, social, and governance pledges in the world, but without empathetic leadership that enables a diverse workplace, we will never make the necessary progress. If the past year has taught us anything, it is that we need to drive a more inclusive, cohesive, and sustainable workforce to build back better in 2021 and beyond.

WARNING SIGNS FROM THE ENERGY INDUSTRY

The consequences of overlooking the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profits are plain to see. The oil and gas industry, for example, which has long run solely on financial performance, is now losing its social license to operate around the world. If energy companies – and indeed any large company with an outsized impact on people and the planet – are to survive, they must adapt to new realities. Business as usual will not be an option for anyone for much longer. 

“If economic recovery defaults to a reboot of pre-COVID-19 activities, societies will have missed an important window of opportunity to transition to a more inclusive and greener growth path,” said chief economists surveyed by the World Economic Forum last year.

THE BUSINESS CASE FOR SUSTAINABLE LEADERSHIP

As more and more corporations around the world start to look beyond immediate, short-term gains, sustainable leadership is becoming the key to future success. However, sustainable leadership is not a purely values-driven play. It’s having the skills to do more with less, driving greater productivity by creating more equitable, inclusive workplaces, communities, and business ecosystems.

What do NASA, the Chilean Science Academy, the Canadian Society of Zoologists, and Bill Gates all have in common?

They all hold the position that climate change has been caused by human activity and that it is a serious threat, along with the vast majority of actively publishing climate scientists.

The debate over whether or not climate change is happening is over. But while climate change is inevitable, our response to it isn’t.

At Atlas Renewable Energy, we believe that climate change represents the biggest threat facing humankind today, and immediate action is required to overturn this alarming trend. At the same time, there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the emerging opportunity to right the course. Here’s why.

INNOVATIONS LARGE AND SMALL ARE HELPING US TO MITIGATE DANGERS AND TRANSFORM OUR SOCIETY AND THE ECONOMY

In recent years, the physical signs of climate change have gathered speed at a worrying rate. According to the UN, 2019 was the second warmest year since records began, putting our planet on a course to reach temperatures not seen in millions of years.

Today, climate change is affecting the lives and livelihoods of people across every continent. From severe weather events to shifts in seasons and rising sea levels, no one can escape the dramatic impacts of our heating planet. 

51 billion tons of greenhouse gases are being added into the atmosphere every year, and if we are to stop climate change in its tracks, this number has to be brought down to zero.

The events of 2020 brought into sharp focus just how vulnerable our societies and economies are, and there is now an upwelling of support for business models to be built around principles based on solidarity, responsibility, and cooperation. From reducing waste in supply chains to halting deforestation or cutting manufacturing emissions, there are many positive signs that a transition towards a more sustainable future is possible.

In his book, titled How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates call for an “energy miracle”, which he believes will enable the decoupling of economic development from environmental degradation.

He calls for an increase in the use of renewables versus fossil fuels (which would account for roughly 27% of the reduction needed in emissions), a change in how we manufacture our goods (31%), a rethink of the way we grow our food (18%), an overhaul of travel and transportation (16%), and a new approach to heating and cooling (6%).

Innovations are already happening: for example, the transition away from greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels to clean energy has become a reality around the world, with astonishing reductions in the prices of renewable energy, battery storage, remote sensing monitoring, and smart grids, while new financial structures have enabled the private sector to take greening their energy consumption into their own hands. 

One example of this is American material science giant Dow. Like most industrial companies, Dow has long sought to reduce the environmental and cost implications of its energy-intensive activities. Its leading position as a supplier of chemicals, plastics, synthetic fibers, and agricultural products also means it’s one of the world’s largest industrial energy consumers.

In the past, Dow utilized grid power and fossil fuels to power its plants but has started to rethink its energy portfolio, setting itself a hard target to meet 750 MW of its power demand with renewables by 2025, and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

To help achieve this ambitious goal, Dow partnered with Atlas to provide clean energy to its Aratu complex in Brazil, the largest Dow manufacturing facility in the country.

This groundbreaking agreement not only avoids approximately 35,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year – the equivalent of taking around 36,800 cars off of the streets of São Paulo – but it lays the foundation for the rest of the chemicals industry to harness the benefits of renewable energy to achieve climate change mitigation goals.

EVEN DURING A PANDEMIC, THE CLIMATE CRISIS REMAINED TOP OF MIND

The Dow agreement was signed in the midst of the turbulence and upheaval of 2020, and it isn’t an outlier. Even though companies continued to struggle with the lingering impacts of movement restrictions, supply chain disruptions, and slumping demand caused by the pandemic, they continued to prioritize sustainability and environmental performance. 

In May 2020, 155 companies — with a combined market capitalization of over $2.4 trillion —signed a statement urging governments around the world to align their COVID-19 economic aid and recovery efforts with current climate science. 

In July, Microsoft along with AP Moeller-Maersk, Danone, Mercedes-Benz, Natura & Co., Nike, Starbucks, Unilever, and Wipro created the Transform to Net Zero initiative, with the tech firm committing to develop a portfolio of 500 megawatts of solar energy projects in under-resourced communities in the US. 

Meanwhile, Google pledged in September to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2030, while Apple’s newly-launched Supplier Clean Energy Program has seen 71 manufacturing partners in 17 countries commit to 100% renewable energy for the tech giant’s production as it commits to transitioning the electricity used across its entire manufacturing supply chain to clean sources by 2030.

According to recent Gallup polls, individuals’ concern about climate change has increased over the past year, demonstrating that there’s more public support for taking big steps to stop climate change than ever before. 

Already, every nation on earth has adopted the Paris Agreement, which contains a commitment to limit global warming to below 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels. Since then, governments and companies around the world have set ambitious goals for reducing emissions. After being postponed for a year due to the pandemic, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, will be held in November, and with 70 countries already committed to net-zero carbon emissions, it represents the best opportunity in years to make progress. 

CLIMATE OFFENDERS ARE FACING THE ISSUE

With sweeping policy changes across the globe, a bold political response to the climate crisis is underway. Huge investments into clean energy sector jobs and infrastructure to decarbonize the economy are expected from the United States, China, and beyond, while subsidies for polluting fuels are being stripped away. 

Sustainability is no longer an add-on, and alarms are now being sounded over the potential financial and economic ramifications if progress isn’t speeded up.

A recent report from Cambridge University found that losses from climate-related hazards are already at around US$180bn per year, and will continue to rise unless investors, lenders, insurers, and policymakers undertake significant risk management efforts. 

As public and political goodwill towards polluters fades, there has been an explosion of climate litigation launched against fossil-fuel intensive, or “carbon major” corporations in an effort to hold them accountable for greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s clear that only by reducing energy emissions are companies going to be able to minimize their carbon footprint, and this is something more and more business leaders are beginning to think seriously about.

THE GREEN PREMIUM IS REACHING A TIPPING POINT

One of the most well-worn arguments against greening the economy is the cost. Bill Gates refers to this as the green premium – essentially the difference in cost between a product that involves emitting carbon and an alternative that doesn’t. 

With new renewable energy now being more affordable than existing fossil fuels in the majority of cases, the green premium is no longer a barrier, as Gates explains.

Even in the most complicated markets, we are seeing demand from corporate customers, who want to know how to access affordable clean energy and lock in pricing stability for the long term. While there’s still more to be done globally to jump over the green premium hurdle, the indications are that renewable energy has already gone a long way towards overcoming it.  

WE CAN’T AFFORD TO BE COMPLACENT

Although we believe there’s room for optimism, there is no possible way we can downplay the existential threat of a climate disaster. But what we do see are a series of climate-positive actions coming out of the public and private sectors, which we believe need to be scaled up rapidly to change the trajectory of emissions levels in the atmosphere.

The experts are right on climate change, but the direst predictions don’t have to become an inevitability. The policy, market, and technological changes can be put in place for the transition to a zero-emissions world. All we have to do is make it happen.

Miami, FL, June 30, 2021 – Atlas Renewable Energy, an international renewable energy developer, was awarded IJGlobal’s 2020 Latin America Sponsor of the Year Award on Tuesday, June 29, for the company’s contributions to accelerating the region’s transformation to clean energy. The company was also awarded Latin America Solar Deal of the Year Award for its Ananuca Financial Deal, which refinanced the Javiera Solar Plant (69.5MW) and financed the construction of the Sol del Desierto Solar Project (230MW) in Chile.

Since the company was founded back in 2017, Atlas Renewable Energy continues to innovate to find the best financial structures for its clients, while always keeping its promise of conducting business in a responsible manner. Most recently, the company was also awarded Latin America Sponsor of the Year and Latin America Solar Deal of the Year by Proximo Infra Awards for Atlas’ New Juazeiro Financial Deal.

Latin America Solar Deal of the Year

The Ananuca Solar Deal in Chile was the largest solar bond in Latin America at the time of signing.  With a unique structure, the deal combined the financing of the construction of a new solar project (Sol del Desierto) and the refinancing of an existing operating plant (Javiera). The two solar PV generation assets have been combined under a single financing portfolio providing investors with key structural benefits and synergies of cross-collateralized assets and cross-guaranteed cash flows.

The 253-million-dollar financing was secured through DNB Markets, which acted as Sole Lead Placement Agent for the notes, under a US Private Placement (USPP) in Green Bond format. The bond was issued under Atlas Renewable Energy’s Green Finance Framework, which is aligned with 2018 versions of the ICMA Green Bond Principles and the LMA Green Loan Principles. This framework recognizes and attests to the company’s commitment to developing projects that protect and preserve the environment while adhering to the highest standards of environmental engagement.

“We are honored to have been awarded solar deal of the year for our Ananuca Deal. This pioneering deal structure provided new avenues for solar financing in the region and furthers Atlas’ innovative approach to project financing working alongside DNB Markets. I’d also like to recognize the support and dedication that DNB Markets has shown to the renewable energy sector in advancing Latin America’s energy transformation,” said Michael Shea, Head of Structured Finance at Atlas Renewable Energy.” This award validates our efforts to continue finding the best financial solutions to advance our projects’ competitiveness in the market.”

Latin America Sponsor of the Year

The company was awarded Latin America Sponsor of the Year for its rapid growth in the region and its innovative approach to designing financial structures alongside high caliber institutions that facilitate renewable energy adoption by large energy consumers in the Americas.

In just 2020, the company signed three major financing contracts: Ananuca worth USD 253 Million, Lar do Sol – Casablanca worth USD 150 million and New Juazeiro for USD 67 Million. These collaborations allowed Atlas to increase its total capacity of contracted projects to 2.2 GW, of which a large portion has been enabled through corporate PPAs with private offtakers.

The company has also partnered with financial institutions such as IDB Invest to develop one of its most ambitious social initiatives: the female workforce program “We are all part of the same energy” in which Atlas is committed to train close to 1,000 women in the communities surrounding its projects under construction and is aiming to reach a target of over 15% of female representation within the total workforce during the execution of these projects.

“This award really belongs to our team who is committed and relentless in challenging industry standards to find new and innovative ways of working.  Fundamentally, we are looking to demonstrate renewables’ ability to be both a sustainable and competitively priced source of energy. And we do so by working together with great partners to find groundbreaking solutions while simultaneously trying to address social issues and promote high sustainability standards,” said Carlos Barrera, CEO of Atlas Renewable Energy. “I’d like to thank IJGlobal for these awards as well as the financial institutions DNB Markets and IDB Invest, among others, for becoming an ally in accelerating the energy transition in the region.”

About Atlas Renewable Energy

Atlas Renewable Energy is a renewable energy generation company that develops, builds and operates renewable energy projects with long-term contracts across the Americas. The current company portfolio is 2.2GW of contracted projects in development, construction or operational stages, and aims to expand by an additional 4GW in the next years.

Launched in early 2017, Atlas Renewable Energy includes an experienced team with the longest track record in the solar energy industry in Latin America. The company is recognized for its high standards in the development, construction and operation of large-scale projects.

Atlas Renewable Energy is part of the Energy Fund IV, founded by Actis, a leading private equity investor in the energy sector. Atlas Renewable Energy’s growth is focused on the leading emerging markets and economies, using its proven development, commercialization and structuring know-how to accelerate the transformation toward clean energy. By actively engaging with the community and stakeholders at the center of its project strategy, the company works every day to provide a cleaner future.

To know more about Atlas Renewable Energy, visit: www.atlasrenewableenergy.com

Miami, FL, June 8, 2021 – The Association for Private Capital Investment in Latin America (LAVCA), dedicated to supporting the growth of private capital in the region, recognized Atlas Renewable Energy with the 2021 Gender and Diversity Award for their Female Workforce Program during the Seventh Annual Latin American Private Capital ESG Deal Awards on June 2nd.

The program was submitted by Actis, Atlas Renewable Energy’s sponsor and active member of LAVCA, which was recognized for supporting social and gender diversity through one of Atlas’ initiatives. The winners were determined by a distinguished panel of institutional investors from development finance institutions, insurance companies and pension funds.

Atlas Renewable Energy’s female workforce program “We are all part of the same energy” stood out because of its goals to improve local women’s access to employment, entrepreneurial opportunities and leadership positions across the corporate value chain. The program established an ambitious target to increase female representation in the construction workforce of the company’s solar projects from a 2% to a 10-15%.

The program has become Atlas’ ESG flagship initiative in the communities where the company is building new renewable energy projects in Brazil, Mexico and Chile. With this Atlas aims to address the existing gender gap in the renewable energy sector. Furthermore, the program is directly aligned with five of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: #5 – Gender Equality, #8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth, #10 – Reduce Inequalities and #12 – Responsible Consumption and Production.

“We are all part of the same energy” was created with the intention to develop technical skills in the local female workforce such as electricity, mechanics, quality control, carpentry and environmental management which will grant women access to better job opportunities within the construction of Atlas’ own projects under execution or others being developed in their communities. At the same time, Atlas mobilized its contractors to prioritize women who participated in the trainings during their hiring process.

“To this day, the program has trained close to 700 women in three countries and plans to reach 1,000 in the coming months. As the projects advance and others are added, we expect an increase in these results and at the same time a change in paradigm within our industry and the communities we touch,” said María José Cortés, Head of ESG at Atlas Renewable Energy. “It is an honor that Actis and Atlas are both being recognized for their shared vision toward gender diversity. The female workforce program is proof that good corporate social responsibility inspires and promotes best practices beyond the office and that it can positively impact our society.” 

About Actis

Actis is a leading investor in growth markets across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Actis delivers consistent, competitive returns, responsibly, through insights gained from trusted relationships, local knowledge and deep sector expertise.

Founded in 2004, Actis has an unparalleled heritage in growth markets, set within a culture of active ownership. Actis has raised US$19bn since inception and employs c.300 people, including a team of c.120 investment professionals, working across 17 offices globally.  Actis’ investors’ capital is at work in c.100 companies around the world, employing over 120,000 people.

To learn more about Actis, visit: https://www.act.is/

About Atlas Renewable Energy

Atlas Renewable Energy is a renewable energy generation company that develops, builds and operates renewable energy projects with long-term contracts across the Americas. The current company portfolio is 2.2GW of contracted projects in development, construction or operational stages, and aims to expand by an additional 4GW in the next years.

Launched in early 2017, Atlas Renewable Energy includes an experienced team with the longest track record in the solar energy industry in Latin America. The company is recognized for its high standards in the development, construction and operation of large-scale projects.

Atlas Renewable Energy is part of the Energy Fund IV, founded by Actis, a leading private equity investor in the energy sector. Atlas Renewable Energy’s growth is focused on the leading emerging markets and economies, using its proven development, commercialization and structuring know-how to accelerate the transformation toward clean energy. By actively engaging with the community and stakeholders at the center of its project strategy, the company works every day to provide a cleaner future.

To know more about Atlas Renewable Energy, visit: www.atlasrenewableenergy.com