Unipar, one of the largest PVC production companies in South America and leader in the chlorine and soda segment, has established the objective of generating, by the next two years, 80% of the energy consumed in its Brazilian plants through wind farms and solar plants, following the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) determined by the United Nations (UN).
According to the Exame website, to achieve this goal, Unipar has already carried out three projects for the self-production of clean energy, through wind and solar parks. As a benchmark in the sector, the company was the first to acquire renewable energy in the Free Contracting Environment (ACL), more than 25 years ago.
In this sense, Maurício Russomanno, the CEO of the petrochemical company, explains: “Through joint ventures, we entered into partnerships with AES Brasil and Atlas Renewable Energy. The complexes, installed in Rio Grande do Norte, Bahia and Minas Gerais, will have an installed capacity of 485 MW of energy, of which 149 MW will be used by Unipar itself”.
In addition to initiatives in wind farms and solar, Unipar was the only Brazilian management company to be consecrated in the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) ranking, which ranked the largest global buyers of green energy in the last year.
The Tucano Wind Farm, which was announced in 2019 and carried out next to AES Brasil, is located in Bahia and has its works in an advanced stage. According to Unipar, the wind farm is expected to start operating in the second half of 2022, enabling the company to use the advantages of the 25 wind turbines and the average 60 megawatts, from the beginning of next year.
Also in partnership with AES Brasil, Unipar announced, at the end of 2021, the work of another wind farm, the Cajuína Wind Complex, located in the state of Rio Grande do Norte. In this wind energy project, the installed capacity will be 91 megawatts, of which 40 will be destined for petrochemicals through 16 wind turbines. As Russomanno stated, the Complex should start production in 2023.
Another project of the company, which was announced in July 2021, is in Minas Gerais and carried out in conjunction with Atlas Renewable Energy. Scheduled to start operations in 2022, Lar do Sol – Casablanca II has an installed capacity of 239 megawatts, of which 49 are transferred to Unipar.
All energy self-production projects through wind and solar parks were planned to meet the energy demand of the Cubatão and Santo André plants, both in São Paulo. However, the petrochemical company is already analyzing the replacement of the energy matrices of its unit in Argentina, in the city of Bahía Blanca.
Together, just in the implementation phase of the projects, the three energy systems should produce more than 2 thousand jobs for residents of the regions.
Linked to this, Unipar is also aware of the various socio-environmental programs led by technical teams from partner companies, which aim to help generate employment and income in the surroundings of the places where the wind and solar energy complexes are being built.
Own production of wind and solar energy is essential for Unipar's sustainable growth plan, which aims to double its size within ten years.
The use of renewable sources helps to reduce Unipar's emissions and carbon footprint, in addition to increasing its energy capacity, improving its competitiveness and reducing operating expenses in a market where input costs are equivalent to half the value of the operation.
It is worth noting that in the current context, in which climate discussions are in focus, the care with socio-environmental impact by large industries gains visibility by investors and the press.
There are also ESG indicators and evaluation mechanisms, which calculate the sustainability performance of companies, and these have become increasingly relevant.
Russomanno points out: “These are projects in line with the company's sustainability guideline, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to exceeding the 80% rate of the energy matrix through renewable sources by 2025”.