Gilnete’s turn around: a new future thanks to São Gonçalo
Gilnete Lustosa is a tenacious, determined woman. Born in Paranaguá, a city in northeastern Brazil around 600 km away from the state of Piauí capital, she has struggled her entire life for a better future for herself and her three children.
In 2006, she left her hometown in search of new opportunities.
“There was no work in my city. I’ve done many things in my life since leaving home. I worked in Mato Grosso in a meat warehouse. Then I moved to Brasilia, where I spent seven years in a company that labeled eggs. In 2016 I went back to Piauí, to Corrente, a city that soon became synonymous with opportunity.”
– Gilnete Lustosa
Gilnete immediately found work at a hotel in Corrente, and one day, a day like any other, she heard something that would change the direction of her life yet again. One of the hotel guests told her about a training course in São Gonçalo do Gurgueia that would give her the chance to work on South America’s largest solar facility, which was under construction.
So, Gilnete took that opportunity in São Gonçalo to have the better life she’d been after for years.
A new life thanks to São Gonçalo
Gilnete was able to better her life, and she is only one of hundreds of people who are taking part in the “Enel Shares Opportunity” project, which is designed to create added value for communities near Enel Green Power construction sites.
The project can change the destiny of an entire population by bringing solid socio-economic development to those areas, and once the facilities are built, by creating a tangible long-lasting contribution. The initiative is aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 8: decent work and economic growth.
The training course taught Gilnete and 338 others about solar plants; phases of construction, basic mechanical concepts and how they work on a broad scale. In São Gonçalo do Gurgueia’s case, the plant will provide clean energy for almost a million people.
Once active, the 608 MW facility will produce over 1,500 GWh per year and reduce CO2 emissions by 860,000 tons annually. São Gonçalo is going to help diversify Brazil’s energy mix and sustain a virtuous economic cycle by offering long-term sustainable energy.
In addition to learning about the construction site, which employs over 1,000 people, 65% from Piauí, Gilnete and the others appreciated the importance given to workplace safety: “Even if your gloves tear a little bit,” recalls Gilnete, “you have to stop until they are replaced.”
Now, Gilnete and her colleagues can smile thinking about their future. The specialized training they received has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for the future, as the technical information they learned was immediately applied in the field and that practical experience will be great preparation for a specialized career in the renewable energy sector.
Projects like this one and the more recent Family Biowater make Enel Green Power one of Brazil’s main players in the energy transition process.