STORY INLINE POST
Q: Why should energy project developers turn to OCA Global to solve matters regarding technical safety, inspection and quality controls?
AG: OCA Global can guarantee the quality required for their projects to fulfill national and international norms and standards and to operate optimally over the long term. We can contribute as early as project feasibility and formulation, followed by construction, operation and efficiency assessment, based on what was outlined in the blueprint stage. OCA Global brings to the table the cumulated experience and best practices from diverse markets, including Spain, South Africa, Morocco and Chile, to our local teams involved in significant projects in Oaxaca, Sonora and the Bajio region. Our corporate structure can provide quality and safety services for these projects.
SV: We are poised to service Mexico’s energy market when quality-control services become the norm in the near future. These controls provide the required guarantees to investors and public entities regarding flawless and quality normcompliant project execution. Renewable energy project life cycles are gaining increased importance in the country’s regulatory framework, extending as far as component and finishing quality.
Q: What projects in Mexico best illustrate the company's added value?
AG: OCA Global is working on four solar PV parks under construction. We are undertaking PV module inspection work, delivering daily reports. We reported a number of deviations from the stipulated parameters for the projects and corrective adjustments were made accordingly. For operational renewable energy plants, we are providing compliance advisory services relating to HSE regulation with periodic onsite visits.
SV: OCA Global’s presence in Mexico since 2008 has been primarily focused on project bankability, first with the country’s wind farm projects between 2008 and 2012, totaling 1GW of installed capacity, followed by solar PV projects in the northern region of the country coupled with several mini-hydraulic power plant projects.
Q: How is OCA Global working to extend quality controls beyond components to also cover EPC works?
SV: As independent technical advisers, we always ask that quality plans and manuals should form an integral part of the EPC contract, meaning all project stakeholders must abide by these quality provisions. It can vary significantly as each company, promoter and EPC company has its own concerns regarding quality control. Given the absence of a standard norm for quality control, we adapt to the requirements set by project sponsors and those requested by local authorities.
AG: Some progress has been made in this regard, particularly with grid interconnection requirements. Other aspects that are more related to solar PV systems are being developed based on other countries’ best practices, as Mexico develops more local experience and adjusts to its requirements accordingly. We always propose training services to our clients to adhere to these international standards.
Q: What is missing in Mexico to promote a diversified clean energy matrix beyond wind and solar?
SV: One model used in other markets is the feed-in tariff (FiT). Relying on auctions and free-market mechanisms boils down to LCOE and margins, in which solar and wind power projects have the most to gain. The future influencing factor will be energy storage technology. Once it becomes sufficiently scalable, we will find projects that already include energy storage and will consider including them in existing renewable power generation assets. For 2018-23, Mexico’s renewable energy industry will be gauging the impact of energy storage and its prices in the energy mix. Meanwhile, based on our participation in industry-specific events and forums, our understanding is that in the nearterm solar and wind technologies will take up the lion’s share of the country’s renewable energy sources.