Echoenergia is Brazil’s largest independent renewable energy platform. It was established by Actis in 2017 with nearly 700 MW in operation, eventually rising to 1.2GW by 2022, when Actis exited its investment. The current portfolio also includes a proprietary pipeline of ready-to-build projects representing a further 1.1GW.
Brazil is Latin America’s largest economy, and its wind resources are among the best in the world. However, when Actis bought the windfarms which were to form the basis for the creation of Echoenergia in 2017, the country was suffering from sluggish economic performance, and was only just coming out of a period of two years of economic contraction. Nevertheless, the market fundamentals for investing in power generation were attractive, due to the country’s well-established regulatory regime for private investment in renewable energy.
What we did
Actis acquired two windfarm projects at the end of 2016 and early 2017, using them as the basis from which to launch Echoenergia. These acquisitions enabled the business to begin operation with a sizeable and high-quality portfolio. Subsequent acquisitions and new-build projects led to a doubling in capacity by the time Actis exited the investment in 2022.
Actis assembled a seasoned senior management, bringing together people with deep sector knowledge, complementary skills and entrepreneurial behavior. The management team successfully managed the construction and financing of the new projects, ensuring they fully supported the company’s strategic goals.
With Actis’ support, an organizational focus on operating excellence was embedded in the company, which included delivering technical and commercial enhancements, and executing the first long-term Power Purchase Agreement in Brazil C&I (Consumer & Industrial) space. As a result of the efforts, within three years of its inception Echoenergia had been transformed from a disparate combination of assets into Brazil’s largest independent renewable platform, with a contracted portfolio of more than 1.2GW and with a clear path for further growth underpinned by its 1.1 GW proprietary pipeline.
As a result of Actis' efforts, within three years of its inception Echoenergia had been transformed from a disparate combination of assets into Brazil’s largest independent renewable platform, with a contracted portfolio of more than 1.2GW and with a clear path for further growth underpinned by its 1.1 GW proprietary pipeline.
Exceptional environmental, social and governance standards are a hallmark of Actis’ investment approach. Echoenergia, like all of our energy platforms, has a full-time, dedicated Head of ESG responsible for identifying and managing ESG issues, and developing initiatives for impactful community investment.
As well as providing clean, low-cost power and supporting Brazil’s goal of installing more renewable generation infrastructure, under Actis’ ownership the business carried out a number of community initiatives. Indeed, throughout its tenure of ownership, Actis fostered an extensive corporate social responsibility programme within the company. This directly benefitted around 53,000 people, and offset at least 4.5 million tonnes of CO2.
Echoenergia focuses on three primary pillars of local community engagement: education, economic wellbeing, and water access for personal and agricultural use. The platform has invested more than BRL15 million ($3 million) in these projects, to date. The latter project in particular provides opportunities for generating income and the promotion of production chains that show significant potential, such as family farming, carpentry, sewing and fish farming.
One example of building long-lasting community relationships is the São Clemente Project. Before Actis’ ownership, the local community was suffering from noise pollution due to the proximity of houses to the project’s turbines. After the asset’s acquisition, and with the agreement of the local community, noise cancellation structures were built, and several families relocated to quieter areas.
Echoenergia has also made meaningful contributions to the education of local children living near the power plants. Students in more than 100 schools benefit from training provided to teachers and other educational professionals, as well as from the construction of new and better facilities. Digital centres have also been built, where access to computers and the internet is provided to hundreds of people every month, promoting digital inclusion and ensuring that students and community members have access to content and education beyond the classroom.
Actis successfully exited Echoenergia in 2022, selling the business to a Bovespa-listed utilities company, being considered Brazil´s largest renewables M&A.
Actis’ ownership cemented Echoenergia’s position as Brazil’s largest independent renewable energy platform, and positioned it to fully support the country’s energy transition. For its part, Actis remains committed to seeking out new opportunities – in Brazil and elsewhere – to buy and build renewable energy assets that foster sustainable economic growth and positively impact the lives of people in local communities.