Economic and social impact potential
Our business strategy for the following years foresees the construction of new wind farms in our current geographies, as well as in new countries.
Since the early stages of construction, new wind farms bring a wide range of benefits to the local communities. However it is important to closely collaborate with our stakeholders to ensure that they maximize the value generated.
Maximizing shared value
The construction of a wind farm includes the construction of new roads and the rehabilitation of existing ones in order to transport heavy equipment (wind turbine components, power transformers, etc.) to the site during construction. The improved road system facilitates future maintenance activities after construction works, as well as improves access to remote locations to the surrounding communities. During the operation of the wind farms these roads are maintained and further opportunities may be identified to increase the positive impact in the community, such as, the conditioning of the access roads to Santa Quiteria hermitage in the municipality of Tardienta, Spain.
In addition, the integration of our generation capacity may also require upgrades in the distribution and transmission grids that belong to the system operators. Those upgrades indirectly benefit the quality of service offered in the surrounding areas, minimizing electricity supply interruptions. Furthermore, during 2012, an EDPR substation was used as backup equipment during the upgrade work of the transmission substation in the area, guaranteeing a continuous electricity supply as the equipment was ready to cover interruptions during the maintenance activities.
In 2012 alone, we invested 26 million euros in infrastructure investments that benefits surrounding communities.
MAXIMIZING OPPORTUNITY FOR LOCAL CONTENT
We started to collaborate with the Scottish Government Energy Division, Highlands and Island Enterprise, and Scottish Enterprise to enable the enterprise agencies to access appropriate parts of the project’s procurement process.
It is expected that the development of this new market will translate into growth and prosperity for the region.
Involving local opinion
Sites of wind farms are selected based on a comprehensive survey taking into account not only technical but also environmental and social considerations. Early engagement with local communities provides valuable understanding of these social considerations and ensures a good and smooth development.
Public consultations are a standard practice for the development of our projects. Public consultations are well attended and receive coverage in the local press.
Furthermore, grievance mechanisms are available to ensure that complaints are properly recorded and addressed. In some particular cases, we decided to take a more proactive approach in this regard and now we rely on the town councils to filter and communicate all the complaints. This increases transparency and shows serious commitment towards solving problems as soon as they arise.
In addition, the interaction with landowners during the development phase is very active and positive, influencing the design of the project. Better engagement practices are always sought. We want to develop a proactive and close management of the relationships with land owners during construction works.
From 2010 to 2012 the communities perception changed significantly, as the survey showed an increase in the positive attitudes towards the wind farms and a sharp decrease in the negative views.
In 2012 we conducted a pilot project in Spain aimed at improving the relationships with landowners during construction of the wind farms, interaction with them is critical to finalize the construction works in time. A minimal number of complaints were registered, proving a high satisfaction level from affected landowners and not a single disruption of the construction works. The experience has set a standard for the following construction projects.
Local hiring and procurement practices
Although there are no in-house procedures explicitly requiring local recruitment, a high percentage of our employees come from the locations in which the company operates. As a result, we contribute to local economic development.
During the construction of our wind farms, the local community can see an influx of temporary construction workers that provide a positive impact on the local economy, through local spending and increased sales tax revenue.
There are no in-house procedures for procurement practices with local suppliers. However, on average, 78% of our expenditures were paid to local suppliers.