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Analysis

Green Urbanization Ushers in Economic Prosperity

Wed, 02/24/2016 - 10:29

Urbanization must usher in a new era of well-being, resource management, and economic efficiency, but to do so cities must reinvent themselves, or they will end up bursting at the seams. Energy efficiency companies in the Mexican sustainability market boast unique origins and they are the chisel and hammer shaping the urban landscapes. Grupo DESUS is one of those companies, attributed with masterminding the transformation of Monterrey from concrete and steel to green landscapes and parks. Enrique Abaroa, Director General of Grupo DESUS, recalls the company’s humble beginnings, “Forty five years ago we began as a company called Urban Landscapes, which pushed for the government to allocate funds to green developments, and it helped in the design of urban landscapes like Fundidora Park, Santa Lucia River, Calzada del Valle, and La Pastora.” As it became entrenched in the backdrop of the city, the company decided on two strategies: institutionalization and the integration of more companies into the Grupo DESUS fold.

As the approaching steps of giant conglomerates resound across the plains of the sustainability market, Mexicanbased companies must arm themselves in preparation for the arduous competition ahead. Consolidation will serve as an important tool in this battle, and one that Grupo DESUS has selected as its weapon of choice. “As a result, the group has reaffirmed its position within the market and the companies within the group benefit from a strong image and an outstanding product portfolio that they can showcase as success stories,” Abaroa boasts. As Grupo DESUS acquires a wide range of knowledge, one fact remains clear for Abaroa: “Sustainability should no longer be seen as philanthropy, but a profitable business opportunity.”

The consolidation of the group depends on the opportunities not only within the sustainability market, but also in the energy sector. For instance, in 2008 it created Energreen, a company focusing on biogas energy projects that has since grown exponentially. “At that time we had two projects: Cancun and Atizapan. We have now added several projects in our portfolio, including San Luis Potosi, Pachuca, and Mextepec, and have become the company with the most concessions,” Abaroa states. To survive in this competitive environment, players must choose their battles wisely, a requirement of which Grupo DESUS is acutely aware. “Large corporations will assume projects that are larger than 30MW, so we decided to target smaller projects of 2-3MW. While everyone vies for large projects, we see a lot of potential in mid-sized commercial and industrial players,” Abaroa points out. Additionally, Grupo DESUS has entered the solar sector with three 30MW ready-to-build projects in Chihuahua. “We have obtained funding from a Spanish company, and we already have permits from CRE and CFE, as well as the approved environmental impact assessment,” he adds. After the convolution and difficulties faced in obtaining the permits for these three projects, the company now has a fourth solar project in the pipeline. Under the new law, small power producers working on projects lower than 30MW can switch to PPA, a prospect on which Grupo DESUS has capitalized. “We are implementing this in conjunction with our biogas project and we are switching to a municipality tariff,” he clarifies.

 Grupo DESUS takes on the new challenge of providing integrated solutions that include energy efficiency and power. In the former category, it identified considerable potential in the sector of efficient lighting, and following its consolidation strategy, Grupo DESUS opted to create alliances with companies specializing in the sector. “We created an alliance with Iluminación Total, a company with 40 years of experience in lighting engineering, and with GDS (Global Display Solutions), which specializes in LED lighting,” Abaroa states. This enabled the company to begin manufacturing LED-based street lighting systems and develop industrial applications. The success of this strategic maneuver is apparent, as Grupo DESUS now boasts clients such as Nemak and Grupo Soriana.

Consolidation will continue to hold sway and Grupo DESUS will integrate smaller companies as it ventures further down the new path it has pledged to conquer. For Abaroa the vision of the future is clear, “Our goal is to create smart and sustainable cities. It is inevitable that cities will continue to grow and become overpopulated, so intelligent urban planning is urgently required.” Certainly, Grupo DESUS will be on hand to form Mexico’s smart cities of the future.