Making the Mexican Energy Industry SmarterMon, 02/25/2019 - 16:20
Q: What impact can smart grids have on the Mexican energy industry?
A: Smart grid technologies cannot be considered potential technologies anymore. Smart grids, through automation and systematization of the Mexican electricity grid, are now a reality and it is an error to think that these technologies are new concepts. For example, all the necessary measurements for correct billing in the WEM are fully automated and every operation related to the security and protection of the electricity grid in Mexico is done with telecommunication protocols that are automated. As a matter of fact, for the WEM to work properly every process has to be fully automated. As for DG projects, they also need smart grids for participants to measure bidirectional energy fluxes and to bill clients correctly.
Q: What is Smart Grid México’s vision for the country?
A: Our goal is to boost smart grid development and allow for the regulation to evolve in an orderly way, considering both the public and private sectors’ needs. We do that by taking part in forums and working with groups and committees organized by local, state and federal governments that include the viewpoints of industrial players. When we started the organization, which was around the same time the Energy Reform was implemented, our focus was aimed at disseminating information. Now that more people and companies know about smart technologies we seek to specialize and deepen their understanding, as well as to showcase the challenges and business opportunities that are emerging in the Mexican energy industry as a result of newer concepts like blockchain and crypto-currencies.
Q: How does Smart Grid México work to achieve its vision?
A: The association has a set of solid training and diploma programs that are designed with the goal of disseminating knowledge, deepening understanding and creating a positive impact through the use of smart grids. The objective of one of our seminars is to help people understand the grid code updates that will be implemented on April 8, 2019. If companies understand the grid codes and implement actions to comply with them, they will avoid fines,. However, most of the industrial players in Mexico do not even know of the existence of the current codes. The Ministry of Energy also is contemplating the implementation of controllable demand instruments for large energy consumers. Compliance with the regulatory framework for controllable demand will be a must for consumers to understand what that means and how they will have to control their energy demand.
Having a full understanding of these instruments and their implication, particularly for energy consumers, is then vital. This theme is covered in the Innovation in Energies and New Technologies for the Smart Electricity Grid diploma program we designed and offer in partnership with Anahuac university. Other themes include energy efficiency and automation in buildings and industrial parks. After taking the diploma course, alumni will be able to see the big picture of the Mexican WEM, fully understand smart grids and evaluate the pros and cons of different technologies used in the smart grids in terms of engineering and financial criteria.
Q: What still needs to be done to facilitate the introduction of smart grids in Mexico?
A: Mexico’s infrastructure requires modernization that allows smarter elements to be connected so it can be better managed. To reach this goal, a proper legal and regulatory framework must be established. Regulation has to properly measure the needs of the industry and the country to match them and create the correct framework that allows an orderly growth of the energy industry.
The government must set out the correct tools for the creation of more opportunities in terms of technologies that will pave the way toward a cleaner energy industry. This includes incentives that take down barriers for the implementation of new technologies in the country.