Baja California Looks to Contract Solar EnergyBy Cas Biekmann | Mon, 08/24/2020 - 09:21
Baja California’s government has launched a call to contract solar energy, reports Diario Tijuana. Baja California has long struggled to meet its energy demand, leading to its government to search for adequate solutions. The call consists of a bidding process, after which the winning private party will build a solar power plant.
The state opened its ‘Inter-Institutional Call for Energy of the Executive Power of Baja California’ yesterday, the state’s official magazine. “A project of this magnitude involves an investment of US$200 million. This will not be provided by the state, but by the business winning the tender. They will sell the electricity to the state government at a better price than what Baja California pays currently. The company in turn has assurance that it will have a contract for the next 30 years”, said Secretary for Sanitation Management and Water Protection (SEPROA), Salomón Faz, in an official call.
Bids for the tender will be received until September 4, indicates Faz. The decision as to who will win the bid will be announced on October 8, when it is to be published in the official state magazine. The local finance ministry will be providing the resources, and SEPROA will in turn contract the energy.
Governor of Baja California, Jaime Bonilla, has stressed the importance of the project for Baja California’s energy matrix. The state’s energy grid finds itself in a unique and difficult position because it is not interconnected to Mexico’s main power grid. As its population is predicted to increase, from 3.6 million in 2020 to 3.9 million by 2025 according to BN Americas, enhancing its energy infrastructure becomes ever more crucial. Baja California’s only local resources it can build on are renewable: solar, wind and geothermal energy are by far the most viable options to break the hegemony of imported gas. A whopping 87 percent of Baja California’s energy needs are met by US imports. Despite renewable promise to solve this problem, issues regarding regulatory uncertainty, limitations toward transmitting energy to Mexico’s main grid and problems with PPAs choked project development in the state. But regardless of the complexities in the federal approach toward renewables, Baja California sees it simply has to make use of its resources to lower electricity prices.
Governor Bonilla said that not being connected to the grid is problematic, but that “CENACE indicates that states can contract companies that produce electricity,”. Faz added that contracting solar energy would allow the state to increase its own energy output, which accounts for merely 8 percent of the total generation: “A solar plant, which would take more than a year to build, would solve the problem. For an immediate solution, close communication has been maintained with the United States government, but unfortunately, they also have a deficit in electricity, which makes interconnection between the two countries impossible”, he said.