Gauging the Shifting Winds of MexicoWed, 02/24/2016 - 18:03
The entire Mexican energy sector can attest to the capabilities of Auriga, a company specialized in leasing cranes and transportation services. Cogeneration makes up to 60% of the company’s activities in the power sector, while wind comprises 20%. In the latter, it has worked with top tiers like Iberdrola, Acciona, Gamesa, and Vestas. Auriga’s Director General, Ricardo Pérez-Gil, says installations are his company’s main focus, followed by maintenance operations. “The Mexican wind sector is relatively new, thus maintenance operations are specific and require small pieces of equipment. On the other hand, Auriga has the tallest cranes in Mexico, and transportation systems to move the towers to the sites.”
A difficult aspect of working with wind parks, says Pérez- Gil, lies in the relatively tight timeframes. Strong winds limit the raising of towers to the months between October and March, although maintenance operations are carried out all year round. “In Oaxaca, sometimes we can only work for a couple of days and lift a few towers because of the strong winds.” To circumvent nature’s forces, Auriga’s cranes are equipped with anemometers to determine whether conditions are favorable for operations.
Wind parks also have strict security specifications, which actually gives Auriga a competitive advantage.“Safety is the most important aspect for customers, even more so than equipment availability and costs. We work with international companies that are accustomed to high safety standards.”Security requirements regarding the equipment’s age are strict. For instance, working with equipment more than five or six years old is prohibited, so Auriga renews its machines every three years. The company maintains a clean track record for accidents after five years of working in the wind sector. This is the result of having certified equipment made with state-of-the-art technology. “We prefer acquiring cranes made with European technology, including machines made by US manufacturers using European components,” comments Pérez-Gil. Nonetheless, Auriga recently began integrating Chinese technology. “Chinese products have a bad reputation, but they are cheap and the quality is surprisingly good.” Each time Auriga buys a new crane, its operators receive training directly from the manufacturers. Auriga’s strategy has put the company in a position that will allow it to take advantage of two of the most promising areas of the Mexican power industry: wind power and cogeneration.