How Can Mexico Align Demand with Intermittent Technologies?Fri, 02/01/2019 - 11:05
The benefits of renewable energies are multiple, including lower environmental impact, greater sustainability and lower cost. But in an incipient market like that in Mexico, lack of infrastructure for storage and transmission poses a challenge in terms of intermittency of these energies. Mexico Energy Review asked industry experts about what Mexico needs to do to get the most of out its renewable resources.
As more people consume more electricity, we want to make sure the quality of energy they are consuming is improving. Renewable energy is not only cleaner than conventional generation but also cheaper. The issue is the concentration or distribution of power generation in certain regions which requires new grid interconnections and improved grid stability. It will be critical to ensure electricity can move from one region to another. Solar energy’s ability to scale up or scale down is a huge benefit, given that basically every region in Mexico can install solar panels in a cost-effective way. We hope for a trickle-down effect in distributed generation, enabling easy access to this technology across socioeconomic spectrums
Battery use for energy storage solutions is generating sizable expectations. This would allow renewable technologies to inject energy during night or in those time slots in which sun and/or wind is not present. It has become a standard requirement in Baja California. Additionally, new and more efficient components are being developed, both for solar panels and turbines, parallel to storage systems using other technologies.
It is a complex issue. There is yet to be an international benchmark either at city or country level with 100 percent renewable energy. It is all about finding the right balance between the available power generation technologies. Mexico has the right vision in that regard. The wait to learn from other markets’ experiences worked to the country’s benefit. The gradual increase of clean energy percentages in the energy mix is the correct approach and trends indicate it is a doable incremental objective. Operable, safe and reliable renewable energy generation assets will be the measuring stick of the country’s clean energy goals.
A lot has been achieved in little time in Mexico in terms of the regulatory framework. This is something the new administration needs to understand. A great deal of value has already been created. There are talented individuals working at the Ministry of Energy, at CENACE and CRE, so there is a sense of ownership of that market-building effort. This is true not only within companies that have invested to find the right opportunities to help Mexico reach its energy transition goals but also within the public administration. There are areas of opportunities in places such as the way we recognize capacity, the auction process itself and some minor details on how market rules operate.