Making A Difference

Bringing Power to the People

Xavier Barbaro (MBA 2006)

Xavier Barbaro (MBA 2006) is CEO of Neoen, a French firm that generates electricity from renewable sources, operating in multiple countries. In this interview, he talks about how the electricity the company produces is bringing power to communities where there has been little or none previously.

“What we do at Neoen is quite ambitious—we try to bring electricity to people who didn’t have it.

“Neoen is a power producer. We produce electricity that comes from renewable energy sources, mostly solar and wind. And we do that with large power plants [that are] able to supply power to tens of thousands of people. Originally, we started the company in France. We also do that in Australia, in Central America, in Africa, also in the Middle East.

“What we try to do is not only produce green electricity, but also produce cheap electricity. For example, in Central America, in El Salvador, we are building a solar plant of 100 megawatts that will supply power to roughly 200,000 people. And it will be at the cheapest price ever in the region.

“We are going to build a solar plant in Mozambique. The electrification rights of Africa is about 20 percent, so 80 percent of the population does not have access to electricity. We are going to build a solar farm in the north of the country where there is no power plant at the moment. It has a real impact; we are bringing power where there was no power before.

“It’s really impressive to see that what we are doing is good from an environmental point of view, in terms of climate change, etc. It really has some impact. But it also has direct impact on the population. So, it’s about being green, it’s about being cheap, and it’s also about giving back to the community where it will develop more projects.”

(Published January 2017)