Voltalia Group

Associates Area

João Amaral
CTO and Country Manager Portugal, Voltalia Group

Founded in 2005, Voltalia is a French multinational that operates in the renewable sector as an energy producer and service provider. The company presents renewable energy solutions including solar, wind, biomass and water, produced in the plants it owns and operates, which it subsequently sells around the world.

 

The company has been listed on Euronext Paris since 2014, having CREADEV as its main shareholder – investment vehicle of the Mulliez family, a family that operates in several business areas and with some well-known brands in the Portuguese market such as Auchan, Decathlon, Norauto, Leroy Merlin, Kiabi, amongst others. The Group currently has more than 1,130 employees, with a presence in 20 countries, 4 continents. In Portugal, the presence is significant with more than 200 employees.

 

For Voltalia, Portugal is a relevant country in its global activity. The geographical position in Europe and its natural conditions make Portugal strategic, although there is still much to explore in terms of energy. Voltalia intends to be an ally in this challenge, simultaneously meeting the global (and local) goals that have been heard for years: achieving a green, eco-friendly and CO2 neutral economy.

 

Knowing the wide range of technical skills existing in Portugal and the contribution of different technologies in the country, Voltalia believes in the Portuguese energy potential. However it highlights the importance of having a strategy, regulation and coherence of sectorial policies. For the company, it is necessary to overcome these difficulties so that there is congruence with the mission of prioritizing the future of future generations without ever neglecting the environment, reinforcing its positive impact on fauna, flora, agri-food and water.

 

With multiple renewable technologies, Voltalia actively works to bring about the energy and ecological transition around the world and is committed to improving the global environment, promoting local development. Since May 20, 2021, and in line with this mission, Voltalia has been a Mission/Purpose company in accordance with the French PACTE law. Since May 22, 2019, this law allows French companies that wish to do so, to recognize in their statutes social goals that pursue other goals, not just economic ones. Although this statute was formalized this year, sustainability has been one of Voltalia's commitments since its foundation in 2005 and as the company has grown in activity, it has made this purpose part of its DNA.

This Purpose is based on three objectives that guide the daily actions of the entire company, namely:

1. work towards the production of renewable energy accessible to as many people as possible, through quality and affordable green electricity, and directly contributing to the fight against climate change;

2. contribute to the sustainable development of territories, building long-term relationships with local inhabitants and stakeholders;

3. work for the preservation of the planet's resources, improving the impact of the company's activities on the environment, throughout the value chain.

 

Also following the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for affordable and clean energy, responsible consumption and production, climate action, amongst others, in addition to avoided carbon dioxide emissions, Voltalia uses certified wood or wood from underwater forests for biomass plants and invests in social projects in communities where it has installed solar parks. Voltalia innovates through agricultural projects in which it combines agricultural and/or livestock production with electricity production. In addition to this combined construction, it makes available the fields where the parks are installed so that, in a symbiotic relationship, grazing animals can feed, sustaining a local value chain of that community, while helping to keep the accesses and their own panels clean, which without shadows will capture more sunlight.

 

Voltalia considers communities fundamental to the success of any renewable energy project and trusts that sustainability is a natural link between the population and the project. Nowadays, a project of a renewable nature is installed for a long duration, with a span of several decades and highlighting the benefits for the environment, always 'hand in hand' with climate action.

 

For renewable energies to grow in Portugal, it is essential that there is trust, close contact, articulation between entities and 100% transparent and open channels and, at the same time, overcoming regulatory difficulties.

 

In 2019, Voltalia stated that Portugal would be the company's photovoltaic energy base, thanks to three pillars of our country's activity: employees, competence and knowledge. Two years later we can add the commitment. Voltalia is committed to Portugal, which has sun, excellent technical and higher education institutions, multiple entities that look for partnerships and that help us when we want to innovate. These factors motivate the investment on the country and give us more certainty that this was a winning bet.

 

Voltalia works every day to bring about the energy and ecological transition around the world, knowing that this change brings great challenges that must be aligned with technology and digitization. The key is to reflect that digitalization also requires regulation and, although gradual, the process will also have to be assumed by governments and their regulators with the definition of safe and relevant programs for the market.

 

Within the scope of its local objectives, it is important to highlight that Voltalia intends to present new models and concepts that allow Portuguese families to reduce the costs of their energy bill. Similar to a future with more electric cars, sockets and smart machines at home, it appears that the common consumer, in the medium and long term, will have a more participative role also in the energy sector and as it seeks to install solar panels in the your home makes perfect sense to have plans tailored to you, but also smart technology that can tell you when it's best to consume electricity, whether because there's more sun or more wind. A future vision that Voltalia would like to see executed in the community. However, something that will only be possible with new rules and well-defined market models, obstacles still to be overcome, but for which Voltalia works daily.

 

Within this commitment, Voltalia has combined its activity with local development for each project it implements. Integrating solar parks with local economies is an inherent Voltalia goal that has been a focus of recent years.  In Portugal, the Coruche solar park is an example of how technology and nature coexist in a harmonious way. The more than 20 animals present in this solar park help technicians to maintain control of the vegetation and help reduce the amount of CO2 emissions caused by the use of machinery. In this model it is possible to optimize resources, control vegetation and reduce costs. In this area, Voltalia develops social and environmental projects fully integrated with the long-term strategic vision of the company's local implantation in the territory, also responding to the needs of local communities. In Brazil, for example, 2 million have already been invested in communities since 2014 and last year 41 projects and social actions were active in the country.

 

Looking from a global perspective, all Voltalia projects have a local performance, adapted to the needs of each region. In Brazil, the village of Oiapoque, a city of 24,000 inhabitants, was isolated and unconnected to the national electricity grid. Voltalia distinguished itself by being the only competitor to offer a hybrid plant (which mixes water / thermal), thus producing clean and cheap energy. Currently this city is connected to the whole world through the production of 90% renewable energy. Also in South America, the project in French Guiana, in Cocoa, is worth mentioning, where electricity is produced from the combustion of wood residues from forestry operations and neighboring sawmills. Once again, this project was adapted to local needs and contributed to the creation of up to 105 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase, allowing the consolidation of the activity of local suppliers in the forestry and agricultural sector, with another 40 new jobs. This project translates into the consumption of approximately 16 thousand people.

 

In the middle of the Egyptian desert, Voltalia is contributing to the fulfillment of Egypt's goals established in the Paris agreement of 2015, having a 32MW solar project already implemented and supplying 19,000 homes. This Voltalia project is part of the national plan aiming to develop 4.3 GW of renewable capacity, including 2 GW of solar photovoltaic energy.

 

A project in Europe's home country of Voltalia, in France, should be highlighted, where a hydropower plant will be located at the foot of the Taconnaz glacier, working against global warming and producing electricity without CO2 emissions.

 

As we have seen, Voltalia interacts with a growing number of stakeholders (local communities, partners and customers), with the purpose of presenting services that create sustainable and social value for its projects. Voltalia believes that renewable energies are where socio-economic development and climate preservation meet, and therefore strives to bring the most innovative and customized solutions on the market.

Adverts