Voltalia, an international player in renewable energies, has launched a number of social projects in Brazil promoting local development and social dialogue with the different populations
Voltalia is developing large-scale renewable projects in Brazil with wind, solar, hydro and hybrid clusters totalling 821 megawatts in operation and 701.2 megawatts under construction: the São Miguel do Gostoso farm in the state of Rio Grande do Norte (108 megawatts, in operation); the Oiapoque hybrid projects in the state of Amapá (23.5 megawatts, of which 7.5 megawatts under construction); the Canudos wind farms in Bahia State (99 megawatts under construction); and the large Serra Branca wind and solar cluster in Rio Grande do Norte State (688 megawatts of wind and solar plants in operation, plus 507 megawatts of solar capacity under construction). Serra Branca, with a potential of 2.4 gigawatts, is the largest wind and solar cluster in the world. This development of renewable energies continues with over 5 gigawatts of project pipeline under development.
The company is committed to ensuring that each project contributes to the development of the region by creating jobs, sustainable infrastructure, and by deploying social projects for the benefit of local communities. This commitment is at the heart of Voltalia's mission and what it has committed to by becoming a "Mission-driven Company" through its second mission objective: to contribute with the inhabitants to the sustainable development of the regions.
In Brazil, more than 170 social actions and projects have been carried out since 2014 and more than €2 million in investments have been made. For example, 40% of the workforce recruited during the construction phase are local employees, coming from the same city or town close to the renewable power plants.
In addition, Voltalia has created two initiatives to support its ambitious social projects. The first is a unique programme in Brazil: "Transformando com Energia" ("Transforming with Energy"). It aims to support the development of local workforce skills by financing free training for people living in the regions where the company operates. This initiative helps to increase the long-term employability of local communities. The courses offered are certified and pay particular attention to occupational health and safety.
The second is a place dedicated to dialogue with the stakeholders in Serra do Mel: Casa Voltalia. Territorial dialogue officers are present and are responsible for monitoring and steering the local consultation process, working on communication and social action, and establishing Voltalia as a key player in the territory for the development of social projects. Casa Voltalia has, for example, implemented preventive measures throughout the Covid period. On an ongoing basis, Casa Voltalia works to bring stakeholders together (town hall, association, etc.) and acts as a logistical base for land regularisation processes.
Social projects in Brazil implemented in 2022
In April 2022, Voltalia carried out an educational action with the students of the municipal network of Canudos. Students from the first to the fifth grade of the Nossa Senhora do Rosário municipal school, in the community of Rosário, Canudos, are made aware of the value of wind energy: the wind is a partner in the search for a more sustainable planet. To teach the production of wind energy and its benefits in a fun way, Voltalia distributed the educational material "Energy from the wind" to the students, with the support of the municipal education department. The action was marked by moments of learning: the storyteller used a wooden miniature of a wind generator and showed how wind turbines and their blades work in practice, transforming this natural asset, so abundant in the state of Bahia, into electricity.
Every month Voltalia and the Brazilian Institute of Social Expeditions (IBES) provide medical assistance in various specialties such as general medicine, occupational therapy, dentistry, physiotherapy, among others, as well as minor surgeries, laboratory tests and complementary examinations. The May edition took place from 16 to 22 May in the communities of Raso, Bom Jardim, Rosário, Risca Faca, Rio do Suturno and São Bento. To date, over 1,500 health and social actions have been carried out in different communities in the region. The next expedition will happen later this month from 17 to 24 August. Through this project, Voltalia, which supports the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is putting into practice SDG 3, which calls for ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all people of all ages.
At the Oiapoque site, 70 local people have taken part in training courses sponsored by Voltalia. Courses in masonry, structural steelwork, electrical installation, welding and carpentry were offered as part of the "Transformado com Energia" project. In total, five training courses were organised for the trades of electrician, carpenter and bricklayer. It should be noted that more than 20% of the registered participants were women, which contributes to the empowerment of women in the choice of the profession they wish, but also to their growing presence in fields previously dominated by men.