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Analysis

At the Forefront of Mexico's Clean Energy Targets

Wed, 02/24/2016 - 12:50

With Mexico hailed for its ambitions to achieve 35% of power generation through clean energies by 2024, 50% of this energy goal will be reached thanks to the wind sector. Between 2015 and 2018, investments in the sector are expected to reach US$14 billion, according to Adrián Escofet, President of AMDEE. The commitment of the sector has been set in stone with the announcement that US$1.4 billion will be invested in 2015, which equates to an installed capacity of 730MW. At the beginning of 2015, capacity stood at 2,551MW from 31 wind farms across the country, and the number is expected to rise to 9,500MW in 2018. While Oaxaca continues to be the mecca for wind farm developments, the presence of the sector is expanding to other regions such as Baja California, Chiapas, Jalisco, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosi, and Nuevo Leon. By 2018, the wind sector is predicted to supply 8% of the electricity consumed in Mexico. In the eyes of Escofet, the sector shows no signs of slowing, with 15,000MW expected to be installed by 2022. The importance of the wind sector will be incontrovertible, as it will come to represent 12- 14% of the country’s total electricity consumed. By 2022 the sector will have accumulated investments of US$30 billion, 80% of which will be financed by commercial and development banks.

CFE STEPS INTO THE LIMELIGHT

As CFE transforms itself into a productive enterprise of the State, it has emphasized its commitment to the development of the wind sector. The Director General of CFE, Enrique Ochoa Reza, stated that CFE plans to build eight wind farms with an accumulated installed capacity of 2,300MW. These projects are yet to be defined and will require an investment of US$3.7billion. As a result, 2015 is gearing up to be a successful year for CFE’s wind projects, with 102MW Sureste Phase II beginning operations in the first quarter of the year.

PRIVATE SECTOR JOINS THE PARTY

Miguel Ángel Alonso, Director General of Acciona Energía, explains that the company aims to develop an additional 1,000MW to add to its existing 556MW through the development of four farms across Mexico. In the same spirit, Hipólito Suárez, Director General of Gamesa, states that the company will increase operations by 500MW. Iberdrola shares its immediate plans, with its new 66MW wind farm to be inaugurated in Puebla. Iberdrola also stresses the importance of diversification by factoring thermal and cogeneration projects into its estimated investment of US$5 billion. Finally, the director of Peñoles, Arturo Vaca Durán, recently announced that the 200MW farm in Coahuila will be inaugurated in the first half of 2016, and this will be added to the group’s existing 80MW installed in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

The regions with the most potential are numerous, and include the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Oaxaca, La Rumorosa in Baja California, the Gulf of Mexico, Yucatan’s peninsula, and numerous areas in the northern parts of the country. In Baja California, Sempra developed the Energía Sierra Juárez (ESJ) project, and its first 156MW were deployed in 2015. Another highlight is the Alfa conglomerate’s project in Tamaulipas that will require an investment of US$125 million to install 19 wind turbines. While La Rumorosa has a potential of 5,000MW, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec remains the preferred site for wind farm developments. In fact, the largest Latin American wind farm, Energía Eólica del Sur, will be developed in the Isthmus and is expected to have a generation capacity of 396MW.

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