Ralph Wegner
Founder and President of the Board
Mexion Corporation (MexCo)
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View from the Top

Adapting to the Wind Sector’s New Reality

By Cas Biekmann | Mon, 10/26/2020 - 11:39

Q: What is the history of Mexion Corporation (MexCo) in the Mexican market and what issues does it generally solve for wind farms?

A: MexCo has been around for the past 15 years, establishing business along the value chain of wind energy. Climatik is a well-known trademark under this umbrella. Climatik carries out measurement campaigns for the operation and maintenance (O&M) as well as for the prospection of wind and solar power plants. Our business line Mexion focuses on maintenance, repair and consulting services of wind turbine blades. Furthermore, MexCo has been successfully involved in a variety of wind farm developments.

 

Q: How has MexCo adapted to the pandemic and where does it identify opportunities?

A: We have implemented all the necessary sanitary precautions in order to keep our operation on track as the energy sector is considered strategic. Nevertheless, many of our clients had to shut down during the pandemic, so we had to continue to operate on a narrower scale. As a result, MexCo had to reduce the company’s headcount and find a way de adapt to the new reality.

Regarding the wind farm development, we are trying to share our vision of its positive impacts and social benefit with the market and the society. These projects are often located in rural areas. It is well known that in the southeast of Mexico the income per capita is lower than in other parts of Mexico, therefore the region is a strategic development focus of the Federal Government. Wind farms can help landowners increase their income manifold, which would also have a positive effect on the economy of the surrounding community. By emphasizing these and other characteristics, we hope to be a more appealing option for the government and its social transformation plans for Mexico. We are also analyzing how to add solar power generation to our wind farm developments in order to deliver a more continuous power generation to the grid.

Storage is another interesting topic that we are considering in our business development model. Cost-and regulation-wise, it is challenge, but we are working to solve the puzzle. Worldwide, renewable energy is experiencing a dynamic growth. For example, Europe has crafted a roadmap with aggressive objectives that puts green hydrogen at the forefront. They might not reach their hydrogen generation objective, but this opens the possibility to produce it outside the EU and land some PPAs in Mexico for its production. Green ammonia production could also be an interesting option for export as well as for the national market, considering that PEMEX has closed its production in their facilities.

 

Q: How is the Mexican wind sector adapting to data-driven solutions for O&M and optimization?

A: Cloud-based inspections reports as well as WTG blade datasets are becoming more of a trend worldwide but are not much demand in Mexico. Here, the sector is still fine-tuning the maintenance and not yet implementing further optimization of power generation. The market is becoming more professional every day in a steady path, but manual inspections work is preponderant. New tools for big data acquisition with artificial intelligence-based reports are already available in the market.

When it comes to optimization, these processes can be implemented to help a wind farm achieve a 3 to 5 percent energy production surplus. It is just a matter of time: the technology is already available. The data measurement tools have very attractive paybacks. But, as the last wind power plants from the long-term energy auctions have wholesale prices around 20 USD/MWh, the O&M budget is rather focused to maintain than to optimize. In other markets like Europe or the US, the situation is different. Both energy prices and market maturity play a role on that.

 

Q: What objectives will MexCo be working on for 2020 and 2021?

A: The main objective is to adjust the company and its mindset to the new reality that we all have to face. It is not only the pandemic issue behind this but the ongoing transition of the Mexican energy sector. Some companies have left the country, others with stronger commitment to the country, like MexCo, are staying. The electricity sector’s breach between power generation and demand is growing. In my opinion, the public sector will not be able to fill this gap on its own. Therefore, sooner than some might expect, there will be an opening toward private investment and industry again regarding power generation and transmission. The production and export of renewables fuels like hydrogen and ammonia, as I mentioned before, represents a huge opportunity for the Mexican renewable energy sector, as their global demand increases significantly.

Meanwhile, we are working to expand our operations into other Latin American countries and see if we can cushion the downsize of sales in Mexico by upselling in other markets. Many of our customers do operate outside of Mexico and we want to offer them our value propositions in this region.

Mexion Corporation (MexCo) is a Mexican company established in 2005, specializing in wind farm development, specialized consulting, products and services related to the planning, development, construction and operation of wind farms.

Cas Biekmann Cas Biekmann Journalist and Industry Analyst