Patricia Tatto Morelos
Vice President America
Astrom Technical Advisors (ATA)
Expert Contributor

Clarity,Certainty: Elements for a Carbon-Free Post-COVID-19 World

By Patricia Tatto Morelos | Tue, 07/07/2020 - 09:42

Spain has unveiled its Climate Change Law to achieve carbon neutral emissions; in Europe, the Green Deal commits the region to an economy based on renewable energy; in the Middle East, the largest renewable projects in the world have been built with the most competitive prices for electricity; Costa Rica is run 100 percent on clean energy; Chile is operating its first Concentrated Solar Power plant and has launched a strong commitment to the implementation of green hydrogen and batteries; the US is launching SPACE X into space and increasingly opting for the storage market and electric mobility.

Today in Mexico, the government is betting on a statist policy that favors the generation of energy through fossil fuels and openly prioritizes the state electricity company, ignoring the previously established market rules, increasing freight rates indiscriminately, issuing regulations without legal and technical support, and most worrying of all, ignoring the commitments ratified by Mexico before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which has led to Mexico being the only G20 country that could potentially breach the Paris agreements. The evidence is in the agreement to guarantee the efficiency, quality, reliability, continuity and security of the National Electric System and issued by the National Center for Energy Control (CENACE) on April 29 and the Official Gazette of the Federation of the agreement that issued the Policy of Reliability, Safety, Continuity and Quality in the National Electric System, published on May 15, 2020.

The proposed measures by SENER and CENACE, as well as affecting several economic interests, will put in danger the health and energy security of the Mexican population. “We can see increasing meteorological events derived from climate change, as well as poor air quality in urban areas,” says GreenPeace and CEMDA, since the energy sector represents 71.1 percent of total emissions of GHG, with the generation of electricity the second-most important contributor. 

This concern has crossed borders. NGOs, embassies, environmental groups, educational institutions, and the scientific community consider these recent measures backward, since they violate the human right to a healthy environment.

Fortunately, the Mexican courts have ruled against these measures, suspending them and their negative impacts. I sincerely hope that these consequences will detonate an urgent conversation between the government, the scientific community, the renewable energy industry and stakeholders. Until today, there has been no dialogue among the parties, only arbitrary impositions, contrary to any democracy. Without a doubt, this circumstance will readjust the country’s investment parameters, job creation and business climate as most economies work to recover crisis. 

It is important to mention that COVID-19 has brought the generation of energy from fossil fuels to a breaking point. As the lockdown measures were introduced, global energy demand dropped precipitously, to levels not seen in 70 years. 

It is worth reading the latest IRENA report to see the hard data and make a comparison. The report highlights ways to rebuild more sustainable, equitable and resilient economies by coordinating short-term recovery efforts with the medium and long-term objectives of the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development. “In addition to the health challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed us to see, there is a need to rebuild the economies of the countries based on more sustainable measures and policies that strengthen the resilience of populations in the medium and long term,” the report states.

Today more than ever, renewable energies have to demonstrate competitiveness. The industry has involved years of research and development, many billions of dollars, and has generated skills and jobs. It promotes the human right to a healthy environment, promotes gender equality and demonstrates we are no longer a young industry of dreamers. We are in a positive and honest business that is effectively changing the world and helping economies to grow. 

More than ever, politicians need to hear from the experts, and to put health and scientific research first, instead of their political interests, because renewable energy has become the preferred choice of investors. We need to make sure that guarantees are in place to assure a sustainable future for our country. This means investing in environmentally friendly technologies, supporting the industry to innovate, investing in cheaper and healthier public and private transportation systems, fully decarbonizing the energy sector and collaborating with international partners to improve global environmental standards.

We can still correct the course and put our country on the right side of history. ATA Renewables supports the development of clean infrastructure and provides pertinent recommendations to ensure investment security.