Civil Infrastructure Support for the Energy MarketWed, 02/19/2014 - 17:22
Aware of Mexico’s renewable energy potential, a Mexican civil infrastructure firm made some modifications to its business focus. 2008 saw ERYVITSA enter the renewable energy industry, particularly through solar energy projects in the north of Mexico and civil works for wind parks in Oaxaca. ERYVITSA realized that few Mexican companies were qualified enough to offer project development and consultancy services. The company, motivated by its recently gained experience, decided to seize the opportunity by dispatching personnel to Europe to learn about renewable energy and energy efficiency. These efforts enabled the creation of a collaborative network with companies from Germany, Spain, Canada, and Portugal. The main goal was to increase the amount of human capital and competitiveness in Mexican companies with international certifications.
Civil works are ERYVITSA’s main area of expertise as the company has been working in road construction and infrastructure for 30 years. Its experience in the renewable energy sector, however, is limited to five years. Nonetheless, this area has rapidly become of crucial interest for the firm, which actively works in development, project management, consultancy, construction and small to medium-size project launching. ERYVITSA also provides specialist advice on market development for renewable energy with federal and state governments, especially the Renewable Energy Commission of Oaxaca.
Having close ties to Germany, ERYVITSA has incorporated international practices that could help the Mexican energy industry. “For example, we are pushing for an enhanced legal framework, adjusted to regional needs,” says Alejandro Velasco Hernández, CEO and Chairman of ERYVITSA. He believes that this would result in an increase of local economic activity and the availability of renewable energy services throughout the country. Velasco Hernández claims that this would result in a swathe of improvements, including more scientific and technological research, employment opportunities, a larger contribution to gross national product, and would be a step further for Mexico to become a global player in the renewable energy industry.
One particular challenge according to Velasco Hernández is the political and regulatory operating environment. For example, local and municipal governments have three-year terms, making continuity a real problem for large projects that take longer to get under way. “We have proposed changes and legal initiatives that will enable large projects to continue in spite of administrative changes. Proper regulation can prevent many mistakes,” he explains.
Velasco Hernández sees the goal of generating 35% of Mexico’s electricity from clean energy as ambitious. “It will depend on strategies implemented by SENER and CFE, as it will determine which bids are held back.” However, he believes the predicted 12GW of installed wind power capacity by 2020 could be reached or even surpassed by the wind energy industry. Given ERYVITSA’s belief in the wind industry, its staff working on wind farms attends training sessions with qualified personnel from Germany. “They become specialists in renewable energy and energy efficiency and then mentor local workers who apply the recently acquired knowledge on Mexican wind farms. Because the construction and installation lasts between six months and a year, people will gain plenty of experience during that period and once the project ends, the workers can go to other states where wind energy projects are being developed. This is a way for ERYVITSA to create employment opportunities,” states Velasco Hernández.
ERYVITSA is using part of its profit to build a renewable energy training center where anyone, regardless of age or educational level, can assist. This provides a great opportunity for people in rural communities with no formal schooling. The idea was conceived after collaborating with a renewable energy center in Germany, and the main goal is educating and training community members and fostering a clean energy culture. “There are plenty of opportunities in the Mexican renewable energy sector with more projects being conceived every day. Now that the regulatory framework for renewable energy was modified, the solar energy sector is expanding. This has given ERYVITSA plenty of opportunities to assist clients with construction, public property registry, paperwork, and obtaining permits with municipal and local governments. Activity in the solar sector is expanding, the regulatory framework was modified, and the CFE is calling for new bids. More companies want to use solar power for self-supply and we keep on identifying opportunities,” tells Velasco Hernández. ERYVITSA’s CEO stresses the company’s goal of strengthening Mexico’s energy sector through renewable energy sources, but its contribution to developing qualified human capital is at the core of the firm’s priorities. The outcome will be future generations of skillful Mexicans that can hold strategic positions in the global energy market.