Savir Ruiz
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Cheapest Offer Not Always the Best Long Term

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 10:35

Q: What challenges do wind energy companies face in Mexico and how does CODISA help?

A: A common challenge international companies face when entering the Mexican market is finding reliable suppliers and service providers. We have heard of companies suffering time delays on their projects due to faulty services, a situation we want to avoid at all costs. When we decided to enter the energy industry, we invested time and resources identifying the problems developers usually face, so that we could design a strategy to mitigate or avoid these incidences during the development of our projects. We invested heavily to equip our company with enough specialized machinery to serve the needs of our clients, for whom we have imported cutting-edge technology from top manufacturers in Europe. We complemented that leading-edge equipment with a group of certified technicians and quality construction materials specially designed for wind turbine applications.

The market is pressuring suppliers and service providers to lower prices but we want developers to know the cheapest offer is not always the one with the lowest long-term costs. We have clients that have contacted us after having had a bad experience with cheaper contractors that turned out to be more expensive in the end. This can be avoided by selecting the right options in the project’s early stages. Our objective is to offer services at a reasonable price without compromising quality and efficiency.

Q: How can a faulty foundation impact a project’s costs over its lifetime?

A: Foundations represent only 2.5 percent of the total cost of a wind turbine but a fault in the design can add relevant costs during the project’s lifetime. Due to their large size, wind turbines must be installed on site using steel bolts to join the different parts, including the tower sections, to the foundation. If the foundation is not set correctly, the vibration caused by the blades and the engine’s movement can destabilize the structure and damage the motor. The only way to repair a turbine’s motor is to dismantle the structure and bring the engine down, which is costly. The cranes required to dismantle the tallest sections of a turbine alone can cost thousands of dollars per day. To ensure the foundations are properly secured, we use specialized grouting applicators imported from Europe and we work with grout materials that have been certified by leading turbine manufacturers such as Gamesa or ACCIONA.

Q: What are CODISA’s flagship projects in energy and what developments are in the pipeline?

A: One of the first projects we developed for wind energy companies was the Wigton III wind farm in Jamaica, which was commissioned by the Portuguese company CJR Wind. We were in charge of installing the foundations and ensuring the mechanical forces were transmitted from the top structure to the concrete foundation. This project demonstrated our ability to work in international settings. In Mexico, the first project we developed was the Tres Mesas wind farm in Tamaulipas, with Abengoa acting as our first customer in this industry. Afterward we collaborated with Global Energy Services on the construction of Primero de Mayo, a 100MW wind farm in Jalisco operated by Enel Green Power.

As for our current developments, we have a signed contract to help Peñoles with the development of a wind farm to supply energy to its zinc treatment facilities in Coahuila, the first wind energy project developed in that state. Peñoles’ wind farm will consist of 95 wind turbines that will rest on our foundations and it will be developed as a joint venture between Energía Eléctrica Bal and Energías de Portugal.