Ensuring access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy is one of the UN Sustainable Goals. Therefore, there is a need for more sustainable energy solutions and renewable energy projects like solar plants. Building a solar plant creates many jobs during the construction phase and creates opportunities for local service providers. On the other hand, however, solar plants require huge land areas and can thus have an impact on local communities. This makes the voice of the community important to IFU as an investor in solar plants.
The Coremas solar project (I, II and III) in Brazil is owned by Nordic Power Partners (NPP) and the local company Rio Alto. NPP was established by the Danish Climate Investment Fund, managed by IFU, and European Energy to develop solar and wind projects in developing countries and emerging markets.
Coremas, which is located in the Brazilian state of Paraiba, will have a total capacity of 90 MW. It will produce 150 million kW per year corresponding to the annual electricity consumption of 55,000 Brazilians.
The project is divided into three phases, where each plot has a capacity of 30 MW, and in total the project will require 210 hectares of land. Coremas is currently under construction and employs nearly 200 people, 95% of whom are from the local community, Coremas, a nearby town with 10,000 inhabitants.
Apart from the jobs created at the project site, the project also creates opportunities for provision of local goods and services.
When IFU visited the site end of October, a community meeting was held with the purpose of having a dialogue on potential concerns and grievances and to learn how the community sees the opportunities that the project brings.
– It is very important to IFU that this project and the community have a mechanism enabling the affected parties to raise their concerns and grievances. This can be done during the meeting, which is set up, or after the meeting through the appointed community liaison persons, said Natalia Svejgaard, Investment Director in IFU.
The meeting went very well. The key concerns raised by the community were dust generated due to heavy traffic and a concern regarding water availability, which is a general problem and not project specific. The community expressed their satisfaction with the project and the opportunities it creates.
– I was happy to hear that the community is supportive of the project. It is a small community that needs development to create jobs and opportunities – also for future generations, said Ibon Soria, Project Manager at NPP.
All IFU projects must comply with national legislation and IFC Performance Standards. IFU also supports and implements the ten principles in Global Compact due to its membership of Global Compact since 2008.