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CONUEE: Strengthening the Strategy For Energy Efficiency

By Cas Biekmann | Tue, 08/04/2020 - 16:53

Q: What are CONUEE’s top priorities and recent successes?

A: In general terms, our objective is to boost the National Program for Energy Management (PRONASGEn) through the efficient use of available resources, despite budget cuts. CONUEE designed and implemented this program as a national initiative to support and develop activities related to energy management and energy efficiency, complementing these with existing programs. CONUEE’s Energy Management Systems model is one of our most successful projects. This model of learning networks was created in collaboration with the German Cooperation for Sustainable Development in Mexico (GIZ) and it has already been replicated in Argentina.

Energy Management Systems is a scheme derived from the international norm ISO 50001 that has proven to save energy and is a practice promoted among high energy-consumption pattern (UPACs). Currently, more than half of UPACs in Mexico are interested in energy management systems.

Also, we promote voluntary agreements between CONUEE and UPACs in which they commit to lower their energy intensity, this with the cooperation of the Danish Energy Agency (ADE). More than 37 companies are participating, including NESTLE and AHMSA Monclova. Another priority was to assess the impact of energy efficiency in Mexico. The result of this analysis demonstrated that the accumulated yearly energy savings as a result of energy efficiency policies and actions by the private sector in the past 20 years is greater than all the energy produced yearly by renewable sources.


Q: How have CONUEE’s projects been affected by the pandemic?

A: Due to recent circumstances, including the pandemic, certain aspects of our work have changed. While our regular programs and certifications continue to function, CONUEE has put a great deal of focus on training in the past months, shifting it to the online sphere. We also publish a report in which we show the long-term effects of energy efficiency. The only work that has seen some delays because of the pandemic is that with municipalities and their street lighting projects. Recent developments in government policy regarding energy supply have not affected us much either, as they do not relate to energy efficiency. We are making a big effort to promote our Management Systems model from a distance. Here, we work hand in hand with PEMEX and CFE. PEMEX is preparing reporting systems in which we implemented one of our features. Savings of MX$200 million are now being achieved through its energy management systems, a success we are promoting and working further upon. For the training, we created an online resource called CapacítateEE, which consists of a collection of free courses related to themes that CONUEE works on. Work might be going a bit slower, but that is to be expected as everyone is adapting to unusual circumstances.


Q: What is CONUEE’s strategy for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs)?

A: CONUEE’s approach for SMEs is based on a pyramid strategy that outlines an action plan according to the size of the company. For example, at the base of the pyramid are small enterprises like little shops. In this case, our objective is to change people’s energy consumption habits and to make sure the appliances and equipment that are being used are new and efficient.

The next level of the pyramid addresses medium-sized companies, such as hotels. We provide guidance and help them to adapt to new energy consumption protocols. In the states of Yucatan and Quintana Roo, we implemented a program that helped small hotels install solar energy heating systems. The program consisted of providing technical assistance to hotels to link with certified suppliers and financial support by Banbajío.

To provide medium-sized companies with energy efficiency strategies, CONUEE is working on the publication of a third edition of the National Cogeneration Potential. This study was made in part thanks to the Danish government and it highlights the huge potential not only for heat and electricity generation, but also for refrigeration.

Furthermore, we published an application some weeks ago, oriented toward recommendations for SMEs. We are also working on a new stage for our ‘Solar Heat in Hotels’ that puts energy efficiency first. These are some examples of the focus we put on SMEs. With our cuts in budget, it has become difficult to have regional presence but we notice that companies are nonetheless showing more interest in our topics as they have been standing still for the last few months. Lastly, for big enterprises (most of the UPACs), such as manufacturing companies, we promote the adoption of integral energy management systems according to national and international standards.


Q: What are CONUEE’s policies regarding street lighting?

A: We continue to support municipalities in the design of renovations of their street lighting systems. Public street lighting must be considered a priority because it is an important social requirement. At CONUEE, we understand that municipalities have limited resources, but there is huge potential to implement a much more energy-efficient street lighting.


Q: What are CONUEE’s objectives for the next five years?

A: CONUEE will continue implementing and improving the National Program for Sustainable Energy Use approved by SENER. We are also looking for official and fiscal recognition for investments in energy efficiency in the industrial and SME sectors. Further, we would like to see the establishment of official standards that promote the use of energy savings and management systems in building projects. For example, we have been collaborating with Mexico City, Mexicali and Tabasco officials to adopt CONUEE’s regulations and update construction regulations.

In the next five years, we will continue working on our existing programs: efficient street lighting installations, voluntary agreements, national cogeneration potential and energy management systems.

The National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy (CONUEE) is a public entity that promotes efficiency and the sustainable use of energy resources through the adoption of best practices.

Cas Biekmann Cas Biekmann Journalist and Industry Analyst