The main challenge at the beginning of a new project is to engage stakeholders around the advantages of installing a wind farm in the region, especially the communities, because there are many expectations and doubts: the possible environmental impacts, the construction works, job offers and finally the social return of the project.
Thus, social and environmental responsibility is seen as a priority for us, as it impacts directly on the lives of people living with the project. "Once installed, a windfarm has the power to change for the better the economic and social condition of an entire city. Our task is to support the public sector, coordinate these initiatives andbe the catalysts of this change", explains the director of new business, Lucas Araripe.
And in this work, there are two fields of activity: environmental and social, each with its peculiarity.
Concerns with the environment
Being committed to the preservation of the environment and managing natural resources in an efficient and sustainable manner. It is our policy to maintain or substantially improve the environmental profile in places where we operate, and in this way, our objectives are clear.
During the implementation phase of a wind farm, we carefully analyze the social and environmental changes, establishing actions to prevent, compensate or mitigate its effects.
To better explain how we operate, we list some environmental changes and the actions put in place to ensure the safety of nature in the region:
• Increase in vehicle traffic, traffic accident risks: Improvement in signals and access roads; traveling in slow speed and with lights; information to the public of the main routes.
• Dust and noise emissions as a consequence of traffic: covering trucks and driving at low speeds; discipline of working hours; preventive maintenance on vehicles.
• Suppression of vegetation and soil exposure: Carrying out deforestation only in the licensed areas and promoting reforestation: implementing Erosion Control Plans; conservation of native vegetation in areas where there is no need for intervention.
• Temporary Disturbance and accidents involving wild animals: Promotion of awareness actions with staff; control of traffic at low speed; implementation of the Rescue Program and Monitoring Program of the Fauna.
• Interference in birds and bats: arrangement of wind turbines in spaced lines; use of modern wind turbines; implementation of the Monitoring Program of Fauna.
• Sound emission: Giving proper distance to the residences; prioritizing equipment that emits low noise; implementing the Noise Monitoring Program.
Power of the Wind: the ability to transform people's lives
In addition to the activities required during the licensing process and the improvements due to the construction and operation of a wind farm, Casa dos Ventos invests in social initiatives. These actions, although voluntary and unrelated to the environmental licensing of the project, represent the opportunity to exercise our social and environmental responsibility in partnership with the public sector.
In this context, several local activities such as the "Natal Solitário" (Christmas Solidarity), Easter campaign, donation of food baskets and celebration picnic, have been held, among others. We are also in partnership with the Municipal Government in an educational project to ensure better access to education that culminated in the construction of new schools. We have also constructed courts and sports fields in the municipality of Araripina, and a project to increase access to water for the population of Simões.
School inauguration in Araripina-PE
The responsibility in conducting a social project evaluation goes from a visit to the region to investigate local needs, meetings with the government, interviews with residents, until the identification of resources available for the project execution.
In the Simões region, for example, Casa dos Ventos started the first researches for social projects in 2014. Since then, we have promoted initiatives that improve the lives of the communities in an ongoing basis.
In the social field, as well as environmental, we also work to mitigate the changes in order to ensure development. Here are some examples:
• Emotional tension: Fair and advanced compensation to families for homes in areas to be affected by the project; establishment of Social Communication Program and the Committee for Families program, creating conditions of empowerment and retaining the families in the countryside, recovering their dignity and self-esteem
• Job creation: Priority to hire local residents; Technical Training Program and use of local labor.
• New opportunities for the economy of the region: Prioritizing the acquisition of goods and services from local suppliers, such as lodging, transportation, meals and real estate rentals.