274MW Dolores Wind Farm Begins Commercial OperationBy Cas Biekmann | Tue, 04/27/2021 - 17:23
Renewable giant Enel Green Power’s 274MW Dolores wind farm, located in the China municipality of Nuevo Leon has officially entered commercial operation on April 26. The US$290 million renewable energy project is expected to produce 938GWh annually.
On September 8, 2020, Enel already completed the installation of its 83 wind turbines and construction of 73km of transmission lines. The green energy company boasts three wind farms in Mexico with a total power of 647MW: Amistad II with 103MW, Amistad III with 108MW and Amistad IV with 162MW. The Amistad wind cluster, located in Coahuila, is the largest one in the country. As a winner in 2017’s third long-term auction, Dolores had already signed a contract with grid operator CENACE’s Clearing House, to which the wind farm sells certain amounts of energy for 15 years and Clean Energy Certificates (CELs) for 20 years.
Enel furthermore rooted the construction on its “Sustainable Construction Site” platform. The model aims to measure the socio-environmental impact of a project and fosters rational water management and waste recycling. Furthermore, the development of Dolores created approximately 400 direct and indirect jobs, for instance for the restoration of 27km of roads. “We are also working on new solutions for our clients in terms of sustainability, actions in communities, the circular economy, responsible consumption and communication campaigns,” said Bruno Riga, Country Manager Mexico & Central America for Enel Green Power to MER2021. “Our goal is to consolidate ourselves as a green enabler for our current and future clients,” he added.
In order to sell its energy to state utility CFE, the project boasts a long-term contract with CENACE. With the election of President López Obrador, Mexico’s energy sector has steadily moved away from increasing private participation in the energy sector, and has adopted a CFE-centric approach. As a result, CENACE cancelled the fourth auction. Private renewable energy developers resorted to legal protections against further efforts to reverse the Energy Reform, which is still anchored into Mexico’s constitution.
Riga believes this regulatory uncertainty prevents Mexico to benefit from the advantages renewable energy brings to the table. “The cost of renewable energy in Mexico is one of the most competitive in the world, but for it to directly benefit final consumers, regulation must favor its distribution. Electricity from renewable sources is available only to big companies that have large consumption, while electricity reaching Mexican households is a mix of other nonrenewable sources that have other costs, of which the price is reflected in the consumer’s bill. As more renewable energies enter into this mix, electricity prices will decrease for people at home,” he said.