Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia | April 7, 2022
Today, Greenwood Energy, the Latin American subsidiary of the Libra Group, and the Confederación Indígena Tayrona [CIT], the organization of the Arhuaco people from Colombia, announced the launch of the Terra Initiative, a utility-scale solar project in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains. The first-of-its-kind project was created in partnership with the Arhuaco people, and is designed to support preservation and reforestation of land that the International Union for Conservation of Nature describes as “the most irreplaceable nature reserve in the world.”
On Wednesday, April 6, 2022, Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez announced the project in an event attended by 600 Arhuaco people in the Indigenous capital of Nabusimake, along with Greenwood Energy. The Initiative is currently in pre-construction and includes six utility-scale solar plants providing 144 mega-watts of clean energy that will be sold on Colombia’s National Interconnected System. The Initiative will create opportunities for the Arhuaco people with green energy jobs and skills training, and the development of three villages with solar energy and storage systems, sustainable agricultural farms, schools and health facilities.
In addition, CIT will be paid for every kilowatt-hour generated by the solar plants with the funds going towards land preservation. Over the project’s lifetime, the Arhuaco people will be able to preserve 119,000 hectares of new land in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta – a land size larger than New York City, Berlin, or Seoul. It will also create a power generation offset of more than one million tons of CO2.
“This project is a roadmap for sustainable development in Latin America’s green energy future. Greenwood Energy is already a leader in the cleantech space, managing close to 100 MW of on-site solar energy systems for public and private sector organizations, including the first utility-scale project in Panama. This Initiative doubles our portfolio, but most importantly it demonstrates that solar and green energy can be harnessed for greater social good,” said CEO of Greenwood Energy Guido Patrignani. “Our hope is that Terra serves as a catalyst for other similar projects, and builds awareness that Latin America has an opportunity to define and differentiate itself through supporting green energy progress that also preserves our rich cultural traditions and ecosystems.”
Accountability and transparency will be woven throughout the Initiative, including the use of Blockchain technology to track and report environmental impact over the project’s lifetime. In addition, after 25 years, ownership of the solar farms will be transferred to CIT, which will further support land preservation efforts.
“This initiative goes hand-in-hand with the Arhuaco people’s objectives of conservation, protection, and care for nature, while also providing a housing solution and helping facilitate education, preservation of culture, and allowing for coexistence between modern and indigenous life,” said Arhuaco Leader Noel Torres. “For the Arhuaco people, development is that which guarantees life today and in the future. By using solar energy in a sustainable way, we are proving that the balance is possible and setting the bar for others.”
“As the world transitions to a clean energy future, it is vital that we reimagine development and lay the foundation for long-term sustainability and social impact. Renewable energy is one of our Group’s six key sectors and reflects our commitment to responsible business practices. Today, our clean energy subsidiaries in Latin America, the U.S. and Europe will soon reach the one-gigawatt mark in the development of green energy, including solar, wind, and waste-to-energy,” said Libra Group Chairman and CEO George Logothetis. “A commitment to sustainability and social good is at the core of our Group, and we are looking for ways to build synergies and support the environment throughout our portfolio. We are proud that Greenwood Energy has been entrusted to advance this critical project.”