Mario Chávez
Executive Commercial Director
General Electric
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View from the Top

Catching Up to Mexico's Renewable Energy Market

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 17:54

Q: What have been the highlights and lessons learned during GE’s development in wind power?

A: The wind industry suffered an impasse between 2014 and 2015 because of low electricity prices. Back then we were pushing, together with developers, for self-supply schemes directed to industrial companies. Given these circumstances, private customers lost interest in moving forward, preferring to adopt a wait-and-see approach. Then the auctions took off, which was a boost for wind energy projects. We have been particularly interested in the energy auctions and partnering up with some developers, particularly in the second auction and moving forward to the third auction. We are well-positioned with a couple of projects that we are confident will secure us 20 to 25 percent of the wind power market before the end of 2017. Our goal is to achieve 30 percent market share in 2018, if our current trend continues. Although GE does not have solar plants or solar panels, we do have a versatile balance of plant solutions for solar parks and wind farms, as well as inverters. A new opportunity has emerged for GE. Everything solar-related in Mexico is growing tremendously, and we hope to be a part of it.

Q: How does GE plan to compete with major companies already well-positioned in those segments?

A: GE is in catch-up mode. We are developing technologies, which will be available soon. We are also looking for procurement in several places internationally as our inverter facilities in Germany, Brazil and India demonstrate. I believe that optimization of our procurement systems will provide us with the competitive edge we need. Additionally, GE’s transformers help us envision the larger scope of our participation in the project. It should also be mentioned that GE’s digital efficiency guarantees higher levels of reliability for our inverters.

Q: Would you consider repeating a similar approach to GE’s wind power scheme, joining forces with developers in power auctions, to guarantee a foothold in Mexico?

A: GE has over 30,000 wind turbines installed globally. We have learned a lot while improving and developing this technology. We are confident about what this technology can bring to Mexican projects. We have highly competitive 2X and 3X platforms suitable for Class II and III winds, to offer the lowest electricity cost that can be produced at Mexican sites. Plus, some projects allow us to put our financing arm into play with GE Capital, using the Energy Financial Services branch. This division joins forces with customers to increase returns, as well as accelerating the project.

Q: How do you choose the developers you take on as partners?

A: We try to let them choose us. Matching our technology with the best sites, which can vary in terms of wind capacity or land constraints, can make our technology more suitable than others. We build cases with our potential developers and investors to ensure the price we offer in auctions is competitive.

Q: How do your turbines’ initial investment and the total cost of ownership compare to major manufacturers?

A: Our turbines are highly ranked as we develop them to optimize wind power projects, especially the 2X and 3X platforms. Also, we are digital wind farm entrepreneurs, wherein availability levels and dispatch can be higher, compared to traditional wind farms. Guaranteed capacity percentages can be a profitability game-changer, depending on the size of the wind farm.

General Electric (GE) is a Boston-based multinational conglomerate corporation. As of 2016, the company operates through Aviation, Global Research, Healthcare, Lighting, Oil and Gas, Power, Renewable Energy, Transportation and Capital.