Progress toward the transition to cleaner and more renewable energy sources is gathering pace at the same time as a wide range of new technologies, from artificial intelligence to the tools that make the widespread adoption of renewables possible. The growth of cutting-edge technologies and the shift to sustainable energy consumption are inextricably linked. At Atlas, we believe that by recognizing and embracing these connections, we can foster an environment that supports and accelerates the adoption of renewable energy.

Renewable technologies mature

The development of renewable energy sources like solar and wind power is one of the most dramatic technological developments in modern history. Once dismissed as infeasibly expensive, investment and advancement have made solar power the least expensive source of power in many parts of the world.

Some of that change is simply due to increased demand leading to economies of scale, but much of it is also due to the increased efficiency of the panels themselves. Commercially available solar panels in 2010 had an efficiency average of 14.7%, meaning that 14.7% of the solar energy that hits the panel is converted to electricity. Efficiencies today are generally between 17-22% efficiency, with an average of 19.2%, with some experimental next-generation solar panels upwards of 40% efficient. Continued improvement in the panels themselves means lower costs and the ability to adopt solar power production at an even wider scale.

Though it has had less dramatic improvements in recent years than solar, wind technology continues to improve as well. Greater efficiency and economies of scale have caused wind power to similarly experience a significant price drop.

One developing technology that is especially important for the incorporation of both wind and solar energy into our daily electrical mix is power storage. Since renewable energy is inherently intermittent (the sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow) utilizing renewables around the clock is complicated. For example, solar power production peaks in the afternoon, while electrical demand peaks in the evening. This means that some of the potential solar power production will not be realized, a phenomenon known as ‘curtailment’, which refers to the regulatory restrictions imposed on production, rather than a natural limitation of the energy source. Now, as battery technology improves, the excess produced at peak production times can be saved for later.

Utilizing energy storage at a large scale entails building facilities with massive arrays of batteries. Most of these facilities currently operating are made up of lithium-ion short-duration batteries. These are battery arrays designed to store power for around four hours to transfer the excess production in the afternoon to the excess demand later in the evening. However, longer-duration batteries are going to be needed for a full green energy transition to occur. Lithium-ion batteries at a longer duration are not ideal in every situation, so other technologies for long-duration energy storage are in various stages of development.

Flow batteries are a developing technology that rely on electrochemical cells for storage. Several different chemistries for flow batteries (or redox flow) are possible and at varying levels of market-readiness. Iron flow batteries, for example, are made with readily available materials like iron, water, and salt, avoiding some environmental criticisms of lithium-ion and other technologies. Some iron flow facilities are being built, but their large-scale market viability remains to be seen.

Pumped hydro energy storage is a bit of a throwback technology that may be finding expanded usefulness. Relying upon the basic physics of gravity, excess power is used to pump water from a low reservoir to a higher one and then drops back to the lower one through a hydroelectric plant when energy is needed. Compressed air energy storage is another potential solution, in which air is pumped into a cavern, abandoned mine, or other contained space and then released when power is needed. 

All of these long-duration energy storage options can currently function as intended. What remains to be seen is which will prove to be the most cost-effective, market-friendly options. As of right now, there is no clear leader.

From chatbots to energy forecasting: AI’s renewable energy opportunity

When most people think of artificial intelligence, they either think of sentient robots or generative algorithms like ChatGPT. But AI is finding many applications beyond just those. The use of AI in renewable power, particularly in companies like Atlas, is becoming crucial for making the world run on clean energy. These algorithms draw upon a wide range of data primarily to forecast generation, as opposed to demand prediction which is typically under the purview of regulatory bodies, and react within a fraction of a second to changing conditions.

Indeed, integrating AI into the renewable energy sector is a significant emerging development. AI-driven analytics and machine learning algorithms are already used to optimize energy generation and distribution. By analyzing vast amounts of data from current and projected weather patterns, historical weather records, satellite imagery, and other relevant sources, AI primarily helps in forecasting generation to reduce curtailment and enhance efficiency. In the case of an outage, AI can also redirect electricity within the grid and assist in diagnosing the problem.

Renewable energy makes for a more complicated grid. Different sources of power will be used at different times based on their availability and suitability at any given moment. Additionally, some electricity will need to be redirected to battery arrays for later use, with that power drawn from as needed. To further complicate matters, distributed energy production adds complexity to grid management. Each house or business with its own solar panels or battery storage must be coordinated within the grid. A renewable grid will require both short-duration and long-duration storage, likely relying on different technologies in separate facilities. Moreover, it will involve ancillary services essential for grid stability, such as voltage regulation and spinning reserve, among others.

This type of complex coordination with seemingly innumerable moving parts, sometimes requiring a pivot within a fraction of a second, is a perfect use for AI technologies. On the other hand, if this coordination is mishandled, there is increased potential for blackouts that disrupt people’s lives and turn public opinion against an increasing reliance on green energy.

In fact, the US Department of Energy coordinated with IBM to create AI that predicts the production capacity of solar plants. They found that they were able to increase the accuracy of solar forecasting by 30%, a massive leap forward in the efficient and effective use of solar power.

Linked together for the future

These developments demonstrate once more the symbiotic relationship between cutting-edge innovation and the growth of renewables, allowing businesses and governments to increase the adoption of clean energy across the globe.

Atlas Renewable Energy was conceived with sustainability at its core. It develops, builds, finances, and operates clean energy projects across the Americas, enabling 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 make the shift to green energy and manage their transition to net-zero emissions – and partners with experts across sectors to remain at the leading edge of technological developments.

To learn more about Atlas Renewable Energy’s approach to innovation and collaboration, contact us.

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Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) offer a spectrum of advantages for long-term energy procurement, key among them being cost predictability, supply security, and enhanced access to financing.

These agreements, particularly crucial for companies targeting net-zero emissions, enable the procurement of electricity from renewable sources, thereby playing a vital role in the decarbonization of operations.

An emerging trend in Brazil, influenced by recent regulatory changes, is the adoption of USD-indexed PPA models. These dollar-denominated contracts are becoming increasingly popular, offering a more advantageous scenario for energy contracting within the Brazilian market.

Ricardo Mendes, Director of Origination at Atlas Renewable Energy in Brazil, underscores the relevance of long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) for businesses. These contracts offer a robust shield against the volatile energy market, significantly impacted by Brazil’s rainfall patterns. Given the country’s reliance on hydroelectric power, which is highly dependent on precipitation levels, these agreements provide much-needed stability and risk mitigation for companies navigating the energy sector.

“To distance themselves from this volatility and not be exposed to high prices, companies seek protection through long-term contracts, such as  PPAs. This ensures predictability in the company’s cost,” said Mendes.

Additionally, the possibility of establishing these agreements in US dollars has attracted exporters and companies in industries whose costs are linked to commodities.

In 2022, for example, Atlas formed a joint venture with Hydro Rein and Albras (Brazil’s largest primary aluminum producer) to develop, build, and operate the Boa Sorte solar plant (438 MWp) in the state of Minas Gerais.

In this self-production model, the dollar-denominated PPA signed with Albras foresees an  814 GWh yearly supply from 2025 to 2044, covering 12% of the aluminum producer’s annual energy consumption. 

“It’s a triple hedge. In addition to protecting from climate-related volatility, a variable in the energy market, companies are protecting themselves from exchange rate volatility and Brazil’s inflation. They find themselves more comfortable because if the dollar falls and their income decreases, their energy cost also reduces,” emphasizes Mendes.

Trust is, of course, a crucial element of PPAs, given the nature of the contracts and their lengths. “Long-term PPAs are a relationship of trust. When we talk about self-production, which in today’s market is the one with the greatest interest, the importance of a relationship built on trust, reliability, and knowledge is even greater,” he said.

What you need to know about dollar-denominated PPAs:

Flexible Contracts

At Atlas, we specialize in tailoring Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to match the unique profiles of each client. One strategy that has proven highly effective in the Brazilian market is the self-production model. This approach offers businesses the opportunity to hold an equity stake in our solar parks, which can lead to substantial energy cost savings. In some instances, clients have been able to achieve nearly 50% reduction in electricity costs.

The structure of each project is a collaborative effort, defined through mutual agreement. Our role encompasses the development, construction, financing and operation of the solar parks, typically in US dollars. The pricing within the contract is a matter of negotiation between us and our clients, along with the terms of price adjustment. This flexibility in structuring and financing reflects our commitment to providing solutions that are both economically advantageous and aligned with our clients’ specific energy requirements.

“There are contracts with prices adjusted for U.S. inflation; contracts where a curve is established, starting with a higher value and decreasing over time. In other words, the model allows for a series of alternatives that can be agreed upon between Atlas and the client,” Mendes explained.

In our approach to energy procurement, clients are offered the choice to select their energy requirements on a monthly or yearly basis, aligning with their specific consumption needs. This system is designed to accommodate fluctuations in energy use, ensuring that clients only procure what is necessary for their operations. 

In cases where energy consumption is less than the amount purchased, the surplus energy – for instance, if 100 MW is purchased and only 99 MW is used – the additional 1 MW can be resold in the market or returned to us at Atlas. The Brazilian energy market’s flexibility often allows for the resale of this surplus at a potentially higher rate than the original purchase price. We offer various options for handling such scenarios, providing our clients with the opportunity to optimize their energy strategy in a way that suits their unique operational requirements.

Supply Security

One prevalent concern about renewable energy is its intermittent nature. A frequently asked question is: What happens during periods without sunlight? Will the power supply be consistent?

Ricardo Mendes addresses this concern, affirming that a continuous power supply is maintained. At Atlas we achieve this through diversified commercial agreements with various renewable energy producers, including wind energy providers, to ensure a steady flow of energy.

This strategy includes an energy exchange mechanism that manages surplus production effectively. For instance, solar energy, which is produced during daylight hours, is carefully balanced against consumption patterns. Any excess generated during the day can be exchanged in the market, facilitating an energy balance. At Atlas we actively engage in this energy market, swapping surplus daytime energy with those who have excess power at night, ensuring a consistent supply. This exchange occurs without incurring additional costs to the customers, thus guaranteeing a reliable energy supply throughout.

Cost Reduction and Efficiency Gains

Self-production in renewable energy, particularly with solar, presents a notable efficiency advantage. However, it’s not always feasible for a factory to meet its entire energy consumption through on-site solar installations due to space constraints. Moreover, factors such as irradiation levels and technology of the equipment significantly influence the energy output. 

As Ricardo Mendes notes, while some companies may have ample roof space, the installation of the most efficient generation systems, like solar trackers that follow the sun’s movement, is often not possible. Typically, solar panels are fixed on roofs, which can result in lower performance.

By entering into a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), a company can access energy from a solar park that’s optimally located for better irradiation and equipped with state-of-the-art technology. This arrangement ensures the highest possible efficiency in electricity generation. Such PPAs allow businesses to benefit from advanced solar installations that might not be feasible at their own sites, thereby enhancing overall energy efficiency.

“You manage to avoid work, avoid construction within your operation, and you can have that energy with the highest efficiency and the lowest possible cost by using those parks that will have a larger scale and be optimally irradiated,” he adds.

Dollar Pricing

Several key factors contribute to the formation of dollar pricing in Power Purchase Agreements. These include the cost of constructing the plant, the consumer’s competitiveness relative to the local market and other consumers, and each company’s specific strategy for financing the energy. 

Ricardo Mendes emphasizes the importance of long-term competitiveness in this context. He notes, for example, that a Brazilian aluminum producer must maintain operational costs within an energy price range that is competitive with counterparts in countries like Australia or Canada.

Another critical reference point is the price in Brazil, denominated in reais. Initially, a base price is established. From there, the pricing can either be fixed, to mitigate the risk of inflation, or adjusted according to U.S. inflation rates, given that the contract is in dollars. These adjustments typically occur on an annual basis. This pricing structure aims to balance local market conditions with the stability offered by a dollar-denominated agreement, ensuring competitiveness and financial predictability.

Financing Attraction

The new legal framework in Brazil (Law 14.286/2021) inaugurated a time for the financing of projects, as it brought greater legal security to dollar-denominated PPAs.

Mendes says the framework gave more security to the consumer company, the generator that will make its investment and the banks. “Atlas pioneered this model in Brazil and even signed the first USD PPA financed by BNDES, said Mendes.

The credit of USD 210 million (equivalent to about R$1.1 billion) was granted by the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) in January 2023 to finance the Boa Sorte solar complex (438 MWp) in Minas Gerais, and most recently Atlas received the largest ever USD loan USD 447.8 million or R$2,18 billion) for renewable energy from BNDES in Latin America to construct Vista Alegre (902 MWp).

This type of experience exemplifies how the company has been weaving agreements to offer clients the best business options, including the possibility of attracting international financing. “Having already established relationships with international banks, which is another important source of resources, helps to expand the range for clients,” concludes Mendes.

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This past year, we’ve seen the extent to which geopolitical struggles can cause energy markets to become unstable. Given that approximately 82% of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels in 2022, as per the UK-based Energy Institute’s report, the energy industry is at a pivotal moment where environmental and energy sustainability considerations are converging with concerns over energy access and affordability.

Energy security has long been an issue for emerging markets. Now, it’s an issue for everyone. Industry players from around the world are being forced to consider new energy systems, and the time is right for investors to truly take note of renewable energies as a dependable option in the pursuit of stability and growth.

The cost of instability 

While Europe is poised to see their energy demand outstrip supply by 21%, by the end of 2023, American businesses are expected to pay over US$41bn more for energy costs.

A shortage of energy supplies sees an ensuing rise in costs for all energy users. In addition, businesses that are overspending on energy will drive up their prices to pass on those added expenses to consumers. In the end, the general population shoulders much of the burden when the cost of all products rises, from food to electronics, and the drive-up of inflation further fuels fears of recession. 

Beyond this immediate impact, there’s a second round of effects, which has to do with the production of energy-intensive products. To manage the profitability of these, production levels may decrease, which then creates supply chain shortages or disruptions. 

Increased prices for oil and gas, therefore, affect everything from consumer spending and job growth to business investments and the allocation of resources.

Sustainability beyond the environment

Instead of hoping to see oil and gas prices drop, it’s time to imagine new energy market dynamics and accelerate the clean energy transition. 

Implementing renewable energies to power different production processes can help countries lower energy costs whilst tackling climate change, in addition to building resilience. 

Indeed, if energy security is about building long-lasting, affordable access to power sources, the current geopolitical and energy market realities are calling for us to move away from unreliable suppliers. 

The ultimate goal is for energy security to be sustainable – in every sense of the word. No longer should sustainability be associated with sacrificing profits, because the ultimate reward is building resilience against volatility. Beyond the very pressing need to care for the environment, it’s also important to recognize that energy strategies are most beneficial when they take a diversified approach.

Economically, dependency on one source of fuel is not a long-term, risk-free solution. 

“Governments should boost investment in renewable energy sources that are increasingly competitive, moving away once and for all from the current outdated carbon-intensive and unsustainable economic model.”
Lord Nicholas Stern, co-chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate (source)

How to be proactive by securing PPAs

One way of mitigating the uncertainty of energy prices is by securing a renewable power purchase agreement. Given that suppliers can increase their rates at any given time, purchasing energy outside of a fixed-rate contract leaves businesses vulnerable to price fluctuations. PPAs offer the benefit of procuring energy with contractually fixed rates, which functions as a safety net against inflation.

However, the strength of PPAs is also in their ability to offer diversified energy portfolios, to meet the needs of each client according to their particular energy use patterns.

PPA’s can be tailored, as we’ve discussed before. Moving away from a “one-size-fits-all” mentality regarding energy procurement allows businesses to make strategic choices that are data-driven, and it’s one way to make energy a more fixed and controllable cost.

PPAs are widely accepted in the US, Europe and Scandinavian markets. Recently, there has been a growing trend in Latin America, with the support of corporate partners, committing to long-term PPAs.While private PPAs were originally pioneered by data centers that needed large amounts of energy and resources to operate, PPAs are no longer limited to a certain type of business or geographical area. In fact, it is now common for companies across industries to be conscious of their energy sources, costs, and carbon footprint. Large banks, retailers, restaurant chains, and telecommunications companies have all widely published details of their PPAs.
Read more here

Collective effort, global solutions

Moving away from conventional energy sources may, initially, lead to hesitation. After all, most energy infrastructure around the world caters to gas, oil, and coal, and renewable energy technologies are still in development. However, as they stand now, renewables are already the most cost-effective. More so than oil, gas, and coal, and more so than nuclear power.

The level of investment that’s required to create stronger access to renewable energies, calls for dedicated collaboration among companies and nations. Collaboration across private and public sectors and industries will be necessary, as it’s the only way to ensure innovation and growth at the scale and speed necessary to meet global sustainability goals. Not to mention that improved technologies also lead to reduced costs, and take us one step further to the development of larger, full-scale projects that function across borders, and take us closer to creating a secure energy landscape.

How the Atlas sustainability model offers increasing returns 

According to research conducted by Accenture, “energy companies that achieve better financial performance seem to be the ones paying greater attention to environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics. While it’s too early to attribute causation, a correlation appears to be emerging between ESG performance and better stock prices, lower cost of capital and higher shareholder returns.”

Our commitment to environmental sustainability cannot be seen as separate from our commitment to social development. Of course, the triple bottom line by which we operate puts profit alongside people and the planet. It’s only by considering ESG metrics altogether, however, that we can measure the true increase in returns, and we, at Atlas, believe that it is possible to create a business model that generates profit whilst being a force for good.

When we invest in people, we know we are creating a stable foundation that will sustain our long-term vision and day-to-day operations. The intangible benefits of creating credibility cannot be overlooked. And no other form of energy, other than renewable energy, can count on a level of credibility among consumers who, worldwide, are more and more interested in sustainable energy sources. 

The road to stability

Although the current crisis response has been to focus on short-term solutions, which include increasing oil and gas production to tackle fuel shortages, we believe it’s imperative to start thinking about long-term strategies.

Atlas is always willing to assist companies ready to move towards new energy processes, ones that are focused on diversification as a way of fostering both sustainability and security.

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As corporate sustainability ambitions escalate and the public becomes increasingly vigilant against greenwashing, a growing number of companies find themselves grappling to achieve their environmental targets. A revealing report by Net Zero Tracker, a collaboration among environmental nonprofits and research organizations, indicates that less than 5% of companies with net-zero targets meet the minimum procedural requirements for credibility.

This stark reality underscores the importance of decarbonizing energy sources for businesses striving to align with their environmental aspirations. In this context, Atlas Renewable Energy is at the forefront in Latin America, establishing key partnerships with businesses seeking renewable energy solutions, thereby setting a benchmark for sustainable practices in the industry.

Renewable Energy and Business in Latin America

Latin America has long been a dynamic market for renewable energy. Its abundant natural resources give it special opportunities to produce clean energy, as well as an increased exposure to the effects of climate change that promotes a sense of urgency. Historically, the region’s primary renewable energy source has been hydroelectric production, but more recently there has been a new focus on other sources of renewable energy, like wind and solar. Currently, a quarter of the energy produced in Latin America is renewable – twice the average of the rest of the world. Total renewable energy capacity in Latin America is over 300 gigawatts (GW), with 54 GW of that being solar photovoltaic.

Many members of the business community have embraced the region’s focus on the environment and climate change. Both local companies and international corporations with significant operations in the region have set ambitious sustainability goals, including the use of renewable energy in their operations. For corporations that require large-scale energy consumption to function, like large tech companies, mining outfits, chemical producers, front-runners in green hydrogen, and others, a renewable energy requirement can pose a major challenge. Relying upon local grids that do not supply fully green energy can make meeting sustainability goals impossible.

To solve this problem, many corporations with substantial energy needs are turning to Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), in which a company that produces renewable energy as wind and solar power plants sells that energy directly to a business at a set rate over a long time-period, providing stability and predictability in both supply and price, at rates lower than those set by public utilities in a tailor-made arrangement to the energy consumer needs.

According to the International Energy Association (IEA), over the last decade, the creation of PPAs has exploded around the world, from less than a gigawatt’s worth of capacity in 2013 to around 13GW of new capacity in 2018 and an astounding 51GW in new agreements in 2022. Corporations across industries have been jumping in, from tech companies like Amazon and Meta to communications giant Verizon, and from car manufacturer Ford Motor to prominent Latin American companies such as the Brazilian mining giant Vale, reflecting a diverse and growing commitment to renewable energy solutions.

A Capable Partner

A changing regulatory landscape in Latin American countries has made the purchase of clean energy through PPAs more attractive than ever but has also often made the process even more complicated. Atlas Renewable Energy is a producer of renewable energy that helps companies navigate this environment to make the most of their investment through tailor-made PPAs that fit the needs and goals of companies looking to cut costs, reduce risks and meet ambitious sustainability goals.

Founded in 2017, Atlas Renewable Energy has a proven track record of successful operations across the region. In 2021, Bloomberg NEF recognized Atlas as the number one provider of renewable energy for corporate partners in Latin America. Atlas also ranked 6th globally, which is especially significant given Atlas’s status as the youngest company within the top six, showcasing its rapid ascent and impactful presence in the renewable energy sector.

The PPAs created by Atlas in Latin America involve building solar photovoltaic power plants or wind farms to provide partners with renewable energy together with pioneer solutions such as batteries. Though renewable energy is inherently variable, the agreements that Atlas creates include around-the-clock energy, relying upon a portfolio of all-renewable energy. Altogether, Atlas Renewable Energy has constructed a robust portfolio with a companied capacity of 4GW, of which approximately 2.2GW is currently operational across Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Uruguay. The company’s diverse client base includes major international conglomerates like mining company Anglo American and chemical companies Dow and Unipar, as well as important local players such as Albras, Brazil’s largest aluminum producer.

Atlas’s recent PPA with the largest individual industrial unit in Brazil, Albras, an aluminum producer, illustrates its leading role in the region. The 902MWp capacity project is set to produce a staggering 2 terawatt-hours (TWh) of power per year, equivalent to the amount it would take to power Brazil’s capital city, Brasilia, with its population of three million people. The agreement is set for a 21-year term, making it the longest-term PPA ever signed in Latin America. Albras’s choice to create such a long-term agreement on its second PPA with Atlas demonstrates the confidence partners feel when working with Atlas.

While many PPAs are denominated in local currency, the Atlas-Albras PPA is denominated in US dollars, an innovative structure made possible by innovative PPA structuring, international financing solutions, and recent regulatory changes within Brazil. This option is meant to insulate the off-taker from the risk involved in currency fluctuations. The ability to create bespoke structures and terms that build upon innovation and current regulation makes Atlas Renewable Energy uniquely adept at creating PPAs in the Latin American region.

Real Results, Real Change

The benefits of creating a PPA with Atlas Renewable Energy are multidimensional. As mentioned, for large energy consumers purchasing renewable energy directly from the producer of that energy can be crucial to meeting ambitious sustainability goals. In addition, the signing of a PPA also signals to the market that a company is serious about sustainability, making it more attractive to both customers and investors.

Beyond these advantages, Atlas Renewable Energy offers clients the option to complement their renewable energy purchase with Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). By acquiring RECs, companies can credibly claim that the electricity they consume is matched by an equivalent amount of renewable energy generated and fed into the grid, thereby supporting their sustainability claims. Furthermore, the option to purchase carbon credits allows these companies to offset their remaining carbon footprint, providing a comprehensive approach to achieving their environmental and sustainability objectives. These options add a tangible and quantifiable impact to a company’s environmental initiatives, reinforcing its commitment to reducing carbon emissions and promoting renewable energy use.

Beyond the important business considerations in creating a PPA, companies that partner with Atlas can know that they are making a real difference for the environment and local communities. Atlas is dedicated to all aspects of sustainable development, including the social dimension. Each project Atlas creates includes initiatives to improve the lives of the local communities, based on the specific needs of those communities. This includes educational programs that provide technology and other resources to schools, promoting sustainable living through education and resources, and the active recruiting and training of women to promote gender diversity within the industry. These are just a few examples of Atlas’s ambitious efforts on the nine UN Sustainable Development Goals they have targeted.

By entering into a PPA with a socially and environmentally responsible partner like Atlas, a company is reaffirming its commitment to corporate responsibility and is doing its part to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The Atlas Advantage

In a business atmosphere that increasingly values corporate responsibility and sustainability, both specifically in Latin America and globally, a Power Purchase Agreement with Atlas Renewable Energy is instrumental for businesses with substantial energy consumption requirements to achieve their goals. Atlas’s experience and proven track record in Latin America, combined with its expertise in catering to large-scale energy consumers, make it a preferred partner in this complex arena.

Additionally, Atlas’s capability to build and implement multi-country solutions is a significant asset, allowing businesses operating in multiple Latin American countries to integrate their energy strategies effectively. This approach not only meets their individual energy needs but also aligns with broader sustainability objectives across different national operations, highlighting Atlas’s versatility and commitment to providing comprehensive renewable energy solutions.

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Fear of energy supply intermittency can be overcome by combining different sources of renewable energy.

“Combining renewable energy with storage is a great solution that customers need,” said Alfredo Solar, General Manager of Atlas Renewable Energy in Chile.

For Alfredo Solar, who has more than two decades of experience in the energy industry, this combination is even more relevant for mining customers, who consume significant amounts of energy. “They already have it internalized,” he said, regarding the mining industry. Chile is the world’s largest copper producer, accounting for 25% of the global supply. In 2022, mining represented 58% of Chile’s exports and 14% of its GDP, according to the Chilean Mining Council, a trade organization representing major mining companies operating in Chile. 

Intermittency Is Not a Risk

One of the concerns of customers is the intermittency of energy supply. “Renewable resources are not constantly available in nature,” said Solar. He gave examples like the wind blowing at certain times of the day, and clouds obscuring the sun. It’s the combination of these sources that supplies energy to the system. “Rather than intermittency, I would say that energy sources are variable and need to be compatible within a system with others that have different variations or those that, in some way, allow for flexible conditions,” Solar explained.

Customers do not perceive the intermittency of generation sources because it’s the generating companies that assemble a portfolio of energy sources according to their demand. The challenge for generating companies lies in supplying energy from variable sources. “These energy sources combine with each other, and in the end, they all work within a system,” Solar said.

Advancements in Storage Technologies

One way to address the variability of renewable generation is through storage. “If we have a surplus of solar energy during the day and can store it in large batteries to use it at night, I believe that’s one way to solve the problem,” Solar said.

The cost of batteries has been a hindrance to their development, but Solar noted that prices have been decreasing. “We are reaching a point where the combination of solar energy and batteries is becoming reasonably profitable as a more continuous supply for meeting demand,” he added.

Ivan Rudnick, Director of Systep Engineering and Designs, believes that economic barriers will decrease as investment costs lower, as mentioned in the article “The Complexity and Cost of Storing Energy” published in the November 2022 issue of Nueva Minería y Energía magazine.

Energy Portfolios

Atlas Renewable Energy collaborates with other companies to offer comprehensive solutions to ensure a stable energy supply. “Essentially, what we do is try to structure portfolios with different technologies and ensure that our portfolios provide us with reasonable energy generation to enter into an energy supply contract with a customer,” Solar said. Atlas aims to make the generation compatible with customer demand and economically viable.

The Desire for Clean Energy Consumption

Customers increasingly want to move away from fossil fuels and carbon emissions. “Renewable sources are the answer to that. They are entirely sustainable energy sources,” Solar said.

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Chile’s goal is to decarbonize its energy matrix. To achieve this development, energy transmission and storage infrastructure is essential.

“There is no relevant client that does not demand 100% renewable energy and that it has the production certificates that accredit that the energy comes from renewable sources,” says Alfredo Solar, general manager of Atlas Renewable Energy in Chile.

The mining sector, Chile’s largest energy consumer, demands certified renewable energy. “The energy transition is not only happening on the supply side,” adds Solar, with more than twenty years in the energy industry. “Customers want to improve or clean their carbon footprint.”

Government objectives

The Chilean government’s goal is to decarbonize the country’s energy matrix by 2025. This involves closing 28 coal plants and investing $30 billion to generate 15 gigawatts of renewable energy and build transmission and storage infrastructure, according to BNAmericas.

Coal plants still supply regulated customers, such as households. However, Solar believes that the National Energy Commission could require the supply of renewable energy for these customers.

Transmission lines and batteries

To incentivize the adoption of renewable energy, the government must invest in the installation of more transmission lines. The lack of these lines is the reason why renewable energy producers have to dispose of some of the energy they generate due to the inability to deliver it to their customers. This practice, known as ‘dumping’, depresses prices. In fact, dumping has increased by 225% compared to 2021, according to Ana Lía Rojas, the executive director of the Chilean Association of Renewable Energy and Storage (ACERA).

“We need transmission lines to be built quickly and for the energy to be transmitted from where the resource is to where the consumption is,” says Solar. Transmission lines must be supplemented with batteries to store energy. “Storage is critical. If solar energy does not fit into the grid, installing a battery makes all the sense in the world: we store the energy during the day and transmit it at night. With that, we de-stress the grid,” he adds. 

In this sense, Atlas Renewable Energy is advancing in the development of batteries in northern Chile. For Solar, this region and the state of California in the United States are pioneers in the installation of batteries, as they have a large solar energy production infrastructure as well as transmission restrictions; hence the need to install batteries.

Chile compared to other Latin American countries

The Chilean Ministry of Energy has set a goal that by 2030, 60% of electricity should come from non-conventional renewable energy sources. To contribute to achieving this goal, Atlas Renewable Energy Chile has projects totaling 3GW, including contracts for the development and operation of three wind farms. 

Currently, Atlas Renewable Energy has three operational plants (Quilapilún, Javiera and Sol del Desierto), with a combined installed capacity of over 450 megawatts of renewable energy. In addition to Chile, Atlas has investments in Uruguay, Brazil, and Mexico. Among these countries, Chile is the most advanced, where renewable energies have grown the fastest and have been installed in the highest proportion in relation to the system. “Chile is a country where practically all renewable energy companies want to be and invest in,” says Solar, despite its smaller size compared to Mexico or Brazil. 

Growth has also faced regulatory challenges. “It is a very big challenge to process all the projects, especially wind projects,” says Solar. It takes years for an environmental process to be ready, in addition to sector-specific permits. It can take five or six years from the decision to start a project until it generates energy. “Efforts need to be made to expedite these processes.” 

The need for a stable regulatory framework

In Chile, the energy market is privatized, with the state playing a regulatory and supervisory role. To keep the business profitable, the conditions must be stable, as energy investments are long-term. “It’s crucial to have a reliable regulatory framework that guarantees that investors can do business for the next thirty years.”  These conditions must make it possible to repay investments and earn profits.

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The recently signed contract between Atlas Renewable Energy and Albras, the largest aluminum producer in Brazil, marks a significant milestone. By supplying solar energy, this contract has the potential to pave the way for similar agreements across the country. These agreements can successfully combine elements such as competitiveness, sustainability, predictability, supply assurance, and social development. It’s important to note that these components can be incorporated into contracts for energy-intensive sectors like aluminum production and the broader industrial sector as a whole.

Luis Pita, Atlas Renewable Energy’s general manager for Brazil, emphasizes the highly competitive nature of the contract for Albras. He underscores the significance of energy as a crucial input, representing a substantial portion of the production costs within the aluminum industry. Notably, this marks the second contract signed between Atlas and Albras, showcasing their ongoing partnership. Furthermore, Atlas Renewable Energy has an extensive customer portfolio in Brazil, including prominent entities such as the mining company Anglo American and chemical companies Unipar and Dow Chemical, among others.

The contract

Signed in April 2023, the new agreement with Albras is the largest contract of this type ever signed in Latin America, both in volume of energy and duration. The long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) involves the supply of approximately 2 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year of solar energy. This amount of energy is enough to supply a city of about 3 million inhabitants, such as Brasília, the capital of Brazil. And this amount of clean energy also allows the offsetting of about 154,000 tons of CO₂ emissions per year.

Under the new agreement, the energy will be sourced from the Vista Alegre solar photovoltaic generation project, which boasts an impressive installed capacity of 902 megawatts peak (MWp). This project represents Atlas Renewable Energy’s largest undertaking in Brazil thus far. Situated in the state of Minas Gerais, the Vista Alegre project is scheduled to commence operations in 2025. Despite the intermittent nature of solar energy generation, the contract ensures a continuous power supply 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Atlas Renewable Energy relies on a diverse portfolio of generation contracts from various renewable sources to achieve this. By leveraging this portfolio, the company can effectively regulate the energy supply for Albras, ensuring a consistent and uninterrupted flow. Consequently, the long-term contract with the aluminum manufacturer guarantees the utilization of clean technologies throughout its duration.

“One of the characteristics of the contracts we sign is that they are all sustainable. In our portfolio mix, we do not consider other sources that are not completely sustainable,» adds Pita.

Female Qualification

Another important factor of the long-term contracts signed by Atlas in the energy market is the social component.

In addition to its economic competitiveness, Atlas Renewable Energy takes pride in being chosen by Albras for the social component it offers. The company’s programs, particularly «We are part of the same energy,» have played a significant role. Through this initiative, Atlas provides training opportunities to women near the projects, encompassing fields such as carpentry, electrical work, and construction. As a result of these efforts, the percentage of women working on Atlas projects has risen from 2% four years ago to over 15% today. This achievement has not gone unnoticed in the market, as it reflects the company’s commitment to the social development of women in the communities where they operate. The executive emphasizes that their contributions are making a tangible difference in improving opportunities for women in these areas.

Dollar contracts

An additional favorable aspect of the agreement between Atlas Renewable Energy and Albras is that the contract was negotiated in dollars. This particular currency choice offers several advantages, including increased competitiveness for the client and access to foreign sources of financing. Pita, emphasizing Atlas Renewable Energy’s pioneering approach, highlights that Albras has previously signed contracts with Atlas, Anglo American, and Dow Chemical, all in dollars. The executive further explains that while the market typically opts for 15-year contracts, Atlas Renewable Energy stands out by offering a 21-year contract in dollars. This extended duration and currency choice reflect the company’s strong competitiveness. However, Pita emphasizes that the primary focus of their product portfolio is always tailored to meet the specific needs of their customers.


Pita further elaborates on how Atlas Renewable Energy, with its 100% renewable portfolio, can contribute to its customers’ energy transition and decarbonization efforts. He emphasizes the increasing demand for green aluminum, concrete, and steel from major consumers, stating that Atlas actively supports its customers in this transition and helps them develop their sustainable products.

According to Pita, Atlas Renewable Energy’s portfolio of projects and products suits a wide range of clients, including medium and large enterprises seeking competitive and modern energy solutions with various contract terms. The company offers innovative contract models such as energy self-production, which can result in even lower energy costs for the customer. Additionally, they provide the option of issuing renewable energy certificates (I-RECs), globally recognized proof of power generation from renewable sources. These certificates can be traded internationally, enabling companies to offset their carbon footprint.

Atlas Renewable Energy currently operates seven solar photovoltaic plants in Brazil, with a combined installed capacity of 1,205.1 MWp. They also have two additional plants under construction, totaling 1,340 MWp. With this robust project portfolio, Atlas is well-positioned to enter into new long-term contracts similar to the one signed with Albras. They can tailor contracts to meet each consumer’s and industry’s specific needs, including the possibility of negotiating in dollars. Despite being a solar energy company with intermittent production, Atlas guarantees that 100% of the commercially supplied energy is sourced from renewable sources. Moreover, they prioritize social aspects such as local labor training and promoting female participation in their projects, ensuring that customers benefit from competitiveness, sustainability, and social development.

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The food and agribusiness industry accounts for 35% of all jobs in the world and 10% of global GDP, according to the  Bain & Company study presented at the World Economic Forum in 2023, in addition to consuming about 30% of the planet’s energy production, according to data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena). The Bain & Company study also found that transforming food systems will be critical to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and improving the nutrition and health of Earth’s 8 billion people.

At the same forum, the Brazilian Minister of the Environment, Marina Silva, an internationally recognized figure for combating environmental deforestation and preserving the environment, said that the country has the possibility and the challenge of tripling its agricultural production without cutting down a single tree.

This is no small feat, considering that Brazil is a world powerhouse in the food sector. The national food and beverage industry is the largest in the country, accounting for 10.8% of the Brazilian GDP, investing about R$ 13 billion annually and generating 1.8 million direct jobs. Globally, Brazil is the second largest exporter of processed foods in the world in terms of volume, and the 5th in terms of value.

As is the case with most of the global industry, the severe effects of the climate change phenomenon and the growing demand from society for the adoption of a more sustainable production model with less intense consumption of raw materials and energy also influence the food industry in Brazil and the world.

But what does the search for a production process with low environmental impact, friendly from the health and socioeconomic sustainability points of view, and less carbon-intensive have to do with electricity? The answer is…everything!

The manufacture of a sustainable food product considers the low emission of polluting gases in its production process. Considering that energy, together with raw materials and packaging, represent 60% of the total cost of food production, it is essential to optimize and make energy use more sustainable in this industrial sector.

Concerning energy consumption, the food industry is the second largest consumer of electricity in Brazil. According to the report by the Energy Research Company (EPE), in 2021, the segment used 23,417 gigawatt hours (GWh), or the equivalent of 13.1% of the industry’s total consumption that year, second only to the metallurgical sector, with 43,613 GWh, or almost 25% of the total [6]. To get an idea, the consumption of electricity by the food industry in 2021 corresponded to total energy consumption in the Southeast and Midwest regions of Brazil, for a month.


The effects of the war between Russia and Ukraine and the European energy crisis raised challenges for the global and Brazilian food industry. The imbalance in the world scenario led to an increase in the prices of agricultural raw materials, energy (mainly oil and its derivatives), and other inputs, such as fertilizers. Not by chance, in its annual report, the Brazilian Food Industry Association (Abia) found that the increase in production costs, boosted by the conflict in Eastern Europe, has been the greatest challenge for the sector in recent years.

In this complex and challenging scenario, the development of renewable sources has proven to be a way for the food industry to reduce production costs and, at the same time, achieve sustainability goals.

According to the Decennial Energy Plan (PDE) 2031, one of the most relevant studies on the expansion of energy supply in Brazil in the long term, produced by EPE, wind, and solar photovoltaic sources have proved to be economically very competitive compared to other technologies for electricity generation. In another study, EPE shows that the cost of implementing a photovoltaic solar source went from just under BRL 7,500/kW in 2013 to approximately BRL 4,000/kW in 2020. In other words, a reduction of almost 50%.

Photovoltaic solar technology follows the process of technological evolution and cost reduction. This can be proven by the results of energy auctions promoted in Brazil in the last decade. The average price of photovoltaic solar power in an auction held in 2016 was R$ 301.79 per megawatt-hour (MWh). Six years later, the average price was R$171.1/MWh.

Along the same lines, the regulatory environment of the Brazilian electricity market has generally favored industry investments in electricity generation, in the self-production model. EPE data indicate that large-scale electricity self-production will grow 37% over the next 10 years, reaching 78 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2031. Everything indicates that the expansion of self-production in Brazil will take place through renewable sources, mainly wind and solar technologies. In fact, solar power reached 26 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity in the country in 2023, with a growth of 83% in one year, consolidating itself as the second largest source of power generation in the country, ranking only behind hydroelectricity.

In this sense, the governments of several countries in the Americas, including Brazil, are developing policies and regulatory improvements to encourage the expansion of renewable energy generation that does not have carbon emissions and is low cost.

With an expressive portfolio of photovoltaic solar source projects in Latin America and a long history of work supporting companies in their internal energy transition processes, Atlas Renewable Energy is one of the largest developers of renewable sources plants in the region, being an important agent for contributing to the food industry in this sustainability journey. In Brazil, the company has more than 1.5 gigawatts (GW)  in installed capacity of solar photovoltaic plants in operation or under development and more than 1.3 GWof this type of plants under construction. In the country, medium and large consumers, in the commercial and industrial sectors, can contract energy in corporate PPAs (long-term energy purchase agreements), with the possibility of self-production from renewable energy generation projects. In addition, Atlas Renewable Energy also provides Renewable Energy Certificates (I-RECs).

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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.

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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.

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