Sergio Martínez
MASE Energy
View from the Top

CFE Split to Have Enormous Impact

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 17:04

Q: How has MASE energy grown in the last few years considering the changes in regulations?

A: In Mexico the sustainability trend is rising, allowing us to grow in wind as well as in solar energy. The Energy Reform benefited us wind park developers, where we have been participating as members of AMDEE, but we are still waiting for several advances. The authorities have not been very punctual with deadlines but that has allowed us to focus on other markets.

Two years ago, we decided to enter the residential solar market and we have installed over 500kW to date. It has been a slow process but at the same time it has been insightful and productive. We now manufacture our own panels and have achieved CFE’s Laboratory of Testing Equipment and Materials (LAPEM) certification, something very few have. We have opened offices in five different cities throughout Mexico and we have expansion plans for the US. The company has two solar projects, at 30MW and 10MW, and our wind energy division has a 50MW project in Zacatecas and a 30MW project in San Luis Potosi.

Q: What impact will the split of CFE have on business?

A: We think it could benefit the country enormously. It will improve distribution, generation, regulation and power variations. As an electricity-generating entity, CFE will be in position to compete with private companies in many ways, one of them being CFE’s solar unit, where MASE could play an important role due to our geographical position and the size and experience of our company. Such competition will most likely bring down the cost of producing and distributing energy and help us as integrators obtain better knowledge of the market, which is key for our business line.

Q: What conditions do you require from the regulatory framework to ensure projects succeed?

A: I believe the next steps would be to fine tune the regulations and reduce the time frames. CFE did a great job putting together a group of experts to create the regulations and is now in the process of taking the opinion of private investors into account to make the Mexican electricity market more appealing for investment.

As expected for the early stages of any project this big, CENACE and CRE have a larger workload than they projected, resulting in longer wait times than expected, which complicates the process. I hope they help us developers better understand the processes and organization that must be followed to move ahead with medium-sized projects of around 30MW.

The biggest challenge in Mexico’s is the grid because the infrastructure is deficient. There are many bottlenecks that hinder the efficiency of sustainable generation and put us far below the objective Mexico wants to reach. The Ministry of Energy has done an outstanding job promoting a DC transmission line through southeast Mexico. That being said, at the locations where we have more renewable resources, the transmission is insufficient and the capacity of the substations is very bad. We need to have more distribution potential in Oaxaca and get to Chiapas.

Q: What is your strategy to stand out as a national company?

A: We are providing innovative schemes for our customers such as leasing, which enjoys high demand in the residential sector and we hope to sell this energy for a good price. We will also continue doing wind parks and our objective is to develop around two parks per year. Right now we have four wind parks in development and we want to maintain this growth rate in the near future.

We do not try to copy or steal from other companies. For us success is a matter of looking for something new. It is not about replicating but knowing what to do and using our local insight and knowledge of the country to do it differently. We always have to look for added value for our clients instead of just focusing on how to save more money and increase profits. The fact that we always try to improve the quality of our services is the most significant and valuable trademark that distinguishes us as a company