Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was forged as a man and politician in the industrial Sao Paulo, but his origins are in the Northeast, an area of deep poverty in which Iberdrola presented a millionaire investment on Wednesday: the first hybrid park for renewable energy generation. The firm will invest 30,000 million reais (about 5,300 million euros) in the next three years in the country to continue developing new renewable projects. The plant will receive an investment of 630 million euros.

"We have been in Brazil for more than 25 years, at this moment we are the largest distribution company in the country, we serve 40 million Brazilians, we have investments of 20,000 million dollars and we invest 2,000 million a year," summarized Ignacio Sánchez Galán, CEO of Iberdrola, which controls its Brazilian subsidiary, Neo Energía.

Sánchez Galán spoke to a small group of media in a huge tent set up in the middle of nowhere, in the northeastern Sertao, an area of a lot of sun, stable wind and little rain, ideal for Iberdrola's last big Brazilian bet: a hybrid park that combines wind and solar energy.

There, the Spanish multinational presented the electricity generation park, a major bet that was attended by Lula and the first lady, Janja da Silva. The governor of Paraíba, the Minister of Mines and Energy and the Minister of Science and Technology also attended.

"You know you can count on me, both professionally and commercially," Sánchez Galán said, looking at a Lula who applauded him.

The surprise was huge when the event closed without the president of Brazil speaking. I have to take care of my throat, he seemed to tell several interlocutors, at the beginning of a day that I would see him travel the Northeast in different meetings and on the eve of a trip to China that is key to the country's foreign policy. The Brazilian president had surgery for laryngeal cancer in 2011, and after his victory in October 2022 underwent treatment to clean and strengthen his vocal cords, noticeably worn.

Before Lula surprised with his muteness, Sánchez Galán went into detail of the reasons for the presence of the head of state at the event. "This is the first hybrid park that is made in Brazil, a 370-kilometer line, which we have made, that connects a photovoltaic park and a wind farm. So you have practically 24 hours a day generating electricity. At noon the sun works and at night the wind farm, "said Sánchez Galán, who also spoke of his relationship with the president of Brazil: "I am united by a very close relationship, a long time and a lot of trust."

Iberdrola is disappointed with the direction Andrés Manuel López Obrador's Mexico has taken, but excited about Lula's Brazil. "In Brazil we have continued to grow over time and in Mexico the current government is not being as attractive for investment as it was in the past. Brazil is our bet, clearly. Instead of continuing to invest in Mexico at the pace we were, investment has stopped. But our commitment to Mexicans continues exactly as it was 20 years ago."

The Basque executive met on Tuesday in Brasilia with Fernando Haddad, Brazil's powerful finance minister. The conclusions he drew from the meeting were positive: "His position is to create by all means a climate of stability, of predictability to make this country attractive at all levels." "I believe that this country has very solid institutions, with regulatory bodies that over many years have shown their independence, their professionalism," he added.

Controlled inflation is also a merit of Brazil, which, without saying it, Sánchez Galán places in decisions of the Government of Jair Bolsonaro. "At this moment, Brazil has something very important: when in half the world we have inflation problems, they made appropriate decisions at important moments and today they have controlled inflation, 5%. That allows them to take measures to support growth without having risks of inflation going up. Brazil will do everything to maintain macroeconomic stability."

Iberdrola's commitment to Brazil will continue strongly throughout this decade. "There are new auctions for transmission lines, we are pioneers in that area as well. We are building more than 8,000 kilometers of transmission lines in Brazil and dozens of high-voltage substations. In June and October auctions come out for billions of reais and we will do our best to remain part of it. Our plan until 2025 contemplates investing between 6,000 and 7000 million euros, and probably until the year 2030 there will be similar conditions. "

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  • Brazil
  • Mexico
  • Jair Bolsonaro
  • Lula da Silva