Miguel Alonso
Mexico Country Manager
Acciona Energía México
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View from the Top

Auction Winner Strikes Again

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 16:10

Q: How did 2018 unfold for ACCIONA and how do you evaluate the last administration’s performance?
A: Last year was one of the most challenging and successful years in the history of ACCIONA Energy as we worked to complete the construction of the projects that were awarded to us during the first and second long-term electricity auctions. The goal was almost 600MW in total and we accomplished it with the Puerto Libertad plant in Sonora and the Cortijo project in Reynosa. I believe these projects were a milestone not only for us but for the Mexican energy sector as they provided certainty to the auctions. It was also a successful year for us because we sent the message to the country and its past and present administrations that things were done properly, proving the success of the Energy Reform. We were able to get important projects running at very favorable costs. Cheaper energy is coming into the market. We thank the past administration for implementing such a well-structured world-class Energy Reform in such a short time. As for the new administration and the future, I hope our work will give it the confidence that the reform is working for the market.
Q: What is your assessment of the renewable energy industry’s future and what role will ACCIONA play?
A: The energy that we got under the first two long-term electricity auctions is directly delivered to CFE as the Clearing House had not been established by then. As for the third auction, there are no ongoing projects yet. We have accumulated 1,200MW of installed capacity, which is equal to providing energy to 1 million families of four people. Mexico achieved record-breaking energy prices in 2017, with the lowest historic price in the world of US$17.9/MW. Mexico is a privileged country as it has high solar irradiation across its 3,400km at the northern border. The country has almost 12 hours of daylight, plus another four hours of light between dawn and dusk. Having about 16 hours of sunlight a day allows the country to structure a photovoltaic scheme to cover the country’s energy needs. A solar park of 145,000ha could meet Mexico’s energy demand, according to my calculations. I am convinced that the country could rely 100 percent on green energy and further bet on electric mobility for its future sustainable transportation initiatives. Mexico could also lead any initiative to fight climate change, reduce carbon emissions and promote renewable energy. Mexico can be self-sufficient in green energy. While I advocate for a diversification of the energy matrix and the inclusion of innovative technologies, I also believe in Mexico as a leader in the energy sector worldwide. ACCIONA will be there to help the country attain this leadership and the change the energy system needs. The new administration has announced its pursuit of this change. We have been in contact with several government officials and are confident that we must keep betting on Mexico and collaborating with the government.
Q: What are the company’s expectations for the near future?
A: ACCIONA wants to almost double its capacity by 2020 in Mexico, which means starting 2021 with 2,000MW of installed capacity in renewable energy. While we used to work mainly with wind farms, the Puerto Libertad project got us to 35 percent of photovoltaic installed capacity, so we will continue to seek a balance between wind and solar energy. We have three more plants in the pipeline for construction in 2019. This implies an additional investment in the country of US$1-1.2 billion over the next two years. Our partner company Nordex will open a new wind blades plant in Matamoros in March, which will create 900 new jobs. This plant speaks to our solid bet on Mexico and our commitment to bringing development to those states that need it and have the natural resources, such as Tamaulipas. We also want to be integrated with the communities in which we work and to deliver shared value to them. This is our company’s mission so we will continue to pursue it in every project in which we work. Our investment in social development in Mexico is significant and tangible. For example, we have been doing social work in Reynosa, especially with local schools.