Libra Group Empowers Colombian Indians to Create a Sustainable Village to Protect the Sierra Nevada

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Colombian President Iván Duque visits Nabusimake, as Greenwood Energy launches Terra Initiative, a large-scale solar project with significant environmental and social impact, jointly developed with the indigenous peoples of Colombia. Credit: Greek Reporter

Greenwood Energy, the Latin American renewable energy subsidiary of the Greek Libra Group, and the Confederación Indígena Tayrona (CIT), the organization of the Arhuaco people of Colombia, announced the launch of Terra Initiative, a large-scale solar project in The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains in Colombia. The project will also include the creation of three unique sustainable villages with 150 homes for the indigenous Arhuaco community.

“It was my father’s dream, and today I am proud that it has come true,” said Noel Torres, an Arhuaco community leader who is following in his father’s footsteps protecting the Sierra Nevada.

The first project of its kind, Terra is created in partnership with the Arhuaco people and is designed to support the preservation and reforestation of land that the International Union for Conservation of Nature describes as “the world’s most irreplaceable nature reserve. ”

Members of the Arhuaco community in Nabusimake
Members of the Arhuaco community in Nabusimake, the indigenous capital of Colombia’s Sierra Nevada. Credit: Luis Ospino / Greek Reporter

On Wednesday, April 6, 2022, Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez announced the project at an event attended by 600 Arhuacos in the indigenous capital of Nabusimake, alongside Greenwood Energy. The initiative is currently in pre-construction and includes six large-scale solar power plants providing 144 megawatts of clean energy to be sold on Colombia’s national interconnected system.

The initiative will create opportunities for the Arhuaco people with jobs and vocational training in the field of green energy, and the development of three villages with solar energy and storage systems, sustainable agricultural farms, schools and health facilities.

In addition, the CIT will be paid for each kilowatt-hour generated by the solar power plants, with the funds earmarked for land preservation. Over the lifetime of the project, the Arhuaco people will be able to preserve 119,000 hectares of new land in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta – an area larger than New York, Berlin or Seoul. This will also create an electricity generation offset of over one million tons of CO2.

“This project is a roadmap for the sustainable development of the future of green energy in Latin America. Greenwood Energy is already a cleantech leader, managing nearly 100 MW of onsite solar power systems for public and private sector organizations, including the first large-scale project in Panama. This initiative doubles our portfolio, but more importantly, it demonstrates that solar and green energy can be harnessed for greater social good,” said Greenwood Energy CEO Guido Patrignani. “Our hope is that Terra will serve as a catalyst for other similar projects and raise awareness that Latin America has the opportunity to define and differentiate itself by supporting the advancement of green energy that also preserves our rich cultural traditions. and our ecosystems.

Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez Terra Initiative
Colombian President Iván Duque Marquez with the Spiritual Priests (Mamos) of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta during the launch of the Terra initiative. Credit: Luis Ospino / Greek Reporter

Accountability and transparency will be woven throughout the Initiative, including the use of Blockchain technology to track and report environmental impact throughout the life of the project. Additionally, after 25 years, ownership of the solar farms will transfer to CIT, which will further support land preservation efforts.

Noel Torres with his late father, an Arhuaco leader and visionary of the Terra Initiative.

“This initiative goes hand in hand with the goals of the Arhuaco people to conserve, protect and care for nature, while providing a housing solution and helping to facilitate education, cultural preservation and enabling coexistence between modern and indigenous life,” said Arhuaco Chief Noel Torres. “For the Arhuaco people, development is what guarantees life today and tomorrow. By using solar energy in a sustainable way, we prove that balance is possible and set the bar for others.

Noel Torres Terra Initiative, community leader of Arhuaco
Noel Torres, leader of the Arhuaco community. Credit: Greek Reporter

“As the world transitions to a clean energy future, it is essential that we reimagine development and lay the foundation for long-term sustainability and social impact. Renewable energy is one of the six key sectors of our Group and reflects our commitment to responsible business practices. Today, our clean energy subsidiaries in Latin America, the United States and Europe will soon reach the gigawatt mark in green energy development, including solar, wind and waste-to-energy said Libra Group Chairman and CEO George Logothétis.

He adds that “commitment to sustainability and social good is at the heart of our group, and we are looking for ways to create synergies and support the environment across our portfolio. We are proud that Greenwood Energy has been tasked with moving this crucial project forward.”

About Greenwood Energy and the Libra Group

Greenwood Energy is one of the clean energy subsidiaries of the Libra Group, a private international business group whose subsidiaries own and operate assets in more than 50 countries. The Group is mainly active in six sectors, including renewable energy, aviation, hospitality, real estate and shipping, as well as some diversified investments. Affiliates of the Libra Group will be close to reaching the milestone of one gigawatt development in renewable energy, which includes solar, wind and waste-to-energy in six countries.

Colombian President Ivan Duque Terra Initiative
Colombian President Iván Duque with community leader and members of Greenwood Energy in a symbolic act for the indigenous community at the launch of the Terra initiative. Credit: Greek Reporter

Greenwood Energy is currently developing or managing nearly 100 MW of on-site solar energy systems for public and private sector organizations wishing to offset their energy costs in Latin America, including the first large-scale project in Panama. The Libra Group also owns Greenwood Sustainable Infrastructure (GSI), focused on the investment, development and operation of distributed and large-scale solar energy projects in North America. As of January 2022, the company had developed approximately 200 MW in 32 renewable energy projects, many of which are still owned or operated by GSI. Other energy holdings include Convergen Latvia, which operates biogas plants in Latvia, and EuroEnergywhich operate several solar and wind farms across Europe.

About the Confederación Indígena Tayrona – CIT

Founded in 1978, ICT is the organization that represents the Arhuaco people of Colombia, an indigenous community descended from the ancient Tayrona culture, located in the Caribbean region of the country.

Arhuaco community at Nabusimake Terra Initiative
Members of the Arhuaco community in Nabusimake, Colombia. Credit: Luis Ospino/Greek Reporter

Their mission is to promote the political, economic, cultural and social development of the Arhuaco community through the management of resources, political agreements, knowledge transfers, programs and projects. CIT also provides advice, monitoring and evaluation of public policies related to indigenous communities and the preservation of the environment of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, which represents their sacred territory.

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