Atlas Renewable Energy to double capacity and expand to Europe

Interview 23 October

Atlas Renewable Energy to double capacity and expand to Europe

Latin American developer Atlas Renewable Energy has established itself as one of the largest independent power producers in the region and has ambitious expansion plans, co-founder and recently appointed Chief Commercial Officer Luis Pita told Infralogic.

Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) acquired the developer from Actis Energy 4 in October 2022 and Pita, who acted as the company’s general manager for Brazil until his recent promotion, said that the asset manager is fully supportive of their growth plans. “It’s a privilege for Atlas that a fund like GIP had their eyes on the company,” he said. “We’re proud of them choosing to invest in Atlas and have presented to them our plans for growth and expansion. They’re all incredible experts and can help us develop our business because of their experience and knowledge of the energy sector across many regions.”

Atlas currently has a contracted portfolio of operational or late-stage construction projects consisting of 3,639 MW of solar and 416 MW of wind capacity - spread across Brazil (2,550 MW), Chile (856 MW), Mexico (574 MW) and Uruguay (75 MW) - and is looking to double its installed capacity and expand to a new region.

A total of 2,296 MW of its projects are operating, 1,343 MW are under construction and 416 MW are contracted but still under development.

Atlas always aims to double the size of the company as a strategy, but in a sustainable way by continuing to bring opportunities that are profitable to stakeholders,” Pita said. “We aim to serve the communities we work in, the authorities we contract with, the citizens who use our electricity and the shareholders of our company in a way that we can be proud of.”  

Expansion plans

When he spoke to Infralogic, Pita had just landed in Brazil from Madrid, where Atlas has opened its first office outside of Latin America, and from where the company will be targeting new opportunities in the Iberian market. “We’re developing a portfolio of projects there and have received proposals from several offtakers so far,” Pita explained. “We will consider the opportunities presented and will consider both greenfield and M&A projects.”

The company is also attempting to tap into existing relationships with corporate accounts that are electro-intensive and that have a presence across the Latin American region. Pita said that Atlas can replicate solutions provided to a regional player in one country across other markets where they operate, all the while implementing best practices learned in other country offices and putting themselves at the service of potential customers.

Pita declined to provide the names of any corporate clients with whom the company would be applying this strategy.

Since its inception in 2017, Atlas has aimed to anticipate the moves of the market and adapt its business strategy accordingly, Pita said. “It’s an interesting moment right now where we see certain generation companies going into commercialization activities and vice-versa,” he said. “Atlas is trying to present a linear approach to the market while not losing its identity of serving commercial and industrial customers. The company’s increased commercial activity will help Atlas present a more comprehensive proposal with increasingly sophisticated PPAs tailored to clients’ needs.”

A significant portion of the capacity needed to double Atlas’ total could come from Chile. Alfredo Solar, the company's general manager in Chile, told a newswire in late September Atlas has a 3 GW portfolio of renewable energy projects in the country. He added that the company has three wind projects with a clean energy capacity of 417 MW that it expects to be operational by 2025 and which will supply energy to Enel Generación Chile under an agreement.

In Mexico, Atlas sees there’s going to be a shift in regulation in the short-term, possibly because of the change in administration next year, but particularly because of nearshoring, which will bring a greater appetite for companies doing cross-border business to use green energy solutions. Pita told Infralogic that it will be difficult for industrial and manufacturing companies growing in the area to meet expected demand for their products and services with existing generation capacity.

In Colombia, where Atlas has also opened an office, it signed a deal in August this year with Brookfield-backed, local IPP Isagen to develop 1,000 MW of solar capacity in the Andean nation.

The company hired former Trina Solar executive Rubén Borja in 2021 to be its country head.

As of today, the company has financed all its projects, except for the Alpaca wind projects in Chile and the 902 MWp Vista Alegre solar project in Brazil. On 1 May, Atlas inked a power purchase agreement with Brazil’s largest primary aluminum producer Albras for solar power supply for 21 years with the power set to come from the Vista Alegre plant when it comes online in 2025.

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