Irene Espinola
Global Renewable Energy Director
Grupo Bimbo
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View from the Top

Clean Energy Use a Competitive Advantage

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 18:14

Q: Grupo Bimbo is a world-renowned bread-maker and also part of the RE100 global initiative. What was the main reason for joining and what is its purpose?
A: RE100 is a collaborative, global initiative that brings together more than 100 influential businesses committed to 100-percent renewable electricity consumption. In fact, we are the first company in Mexico and even in Latin America to join this movement. Generally, in these initiatives, Grupo Bimbo participates as an agent of change. The idea is that after taking the first step, more companies follow up by identifying successful case studies. This has an important impact in Mexico as renewable energy is the best option for achieving sustainability. For Grupo Bimbo, being able to use clean energy represents a competitive advantage from a social, environmental, and economic perspective.
Q: What is the company’s guideline when selecting strategic alliances to work with?
A: Grupo Bimbo is present in 32 countries. Our strategic allies are located in every region we open. We do not always work with the same companies but we explore options in each location. When we enter a country, we get to know the current legislation and open auctions related to energy topics. For these auctions, we seek out companies that we already know so they can introduce us to other players. In the end, the energy industry is small and we know each other. These auctions are open to the market and any player that wants to participate, can do so.
Q: What is Grupo Bimbo’s role is the solar distributed generation segment?
A: We are installing 20MW at our 42 producing plants in Mexico through this scheme. This project is already being executed and we hope to finish it by July 2019. For this project specifically, we conducted a national auction process. We weighed whether to address installments individually or the project as a whole. In the end, we realized the most beneficial thing to do was to select a partner at a national level because it is quite complicated to have various partners and control all this equipment in many locations. We are working with Enlight on this project as it is the biggest distributed generation company in Mexico.
Q: What was the main driver behind being the first company to issue a CEL through distributed generation?
A: We do not have a set goal for CEL but we already have covered this requirement due to the legacy contract the company holds with Piedra Larga’s wind farm. As Grupo Bimbo, we do not need to accomplish that goal as we are registered as basic users with CFE, so we are already paying for CEL in the tariff CFE is charging. Even so, we are participating with our distributed generation facilities. The goal is to generate 5 percent of clean energy in 2018 and to increase that to 8 percent in 2019. We do not need that renewable energy certificate as we are already covered but the idea is to offer these certificates in the market for other companies that cannot invest in clean technologies but must comply with this requirement. So far, Enlight has served as the generator and ENGIE has acted as our qualified supplier for trading these certificates in the market. This company reports these CEL in the system and collocates them in the market.
Q: What differentiates Mexico from the other 31 countries where Grupo Bimbo holds operations?
A: Mexico was the first country where we started with the RE100 initiative. We began in 2012 with the Piedra Larga wind farm located in Oaxaca. Through this project, we supply 70 percent of our national operations. The remaining 30 percent comes from solar distributed generation and the installment of another wind farm. With this capacity, Grupo Bimbo produces 40 percent of its global energy supply through renewable energy generation. For 2019, we have signed a contract with Invenergy to construct a 100MW plant in Texas that will start operations this same year. This installment will provide an additional 35 percent capacity globally. With this, we still face a 25 percent generation deficit that will be supplied from other geographies.

Grupo Bimbo is a world-renowned Mexican bread-maker with operations in 32 countries in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe. The company produces more than 13,000 products through 100 different brands, employing 139,000 people.