Oscar Scolari
Rengen Energy Solutions
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One-Stop Shop for Mexico's Energy Market

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 17:38

Q: What is keeping waste-to-energy from becoming attractive in Mexico and how is Rengen working to make waste-to-energy a reality in the country?

A: Waste-to-energy is based solely on an alternative for solving environmental problems. It is a way to avoid burying trash that generates toxic leaching, poisoned groundwater and methane that is released into the atmosphere and contributes to global warming. As a matter of fact, waste-to-energy, although much cheaper than plasma and pyrolysis, is not an economical way to produce energy. Therefore, waste-to-energy should not be considered as a primary method for producing energy but as a way to solve an ever-increasing environmental problem that also allows us to create energy. Mexico’s politics make it hard for waste-to-energy projects to become a reality. These are expensive developments, and while the financing is available, it may be approved too close to the next round of elections. To address this issue, we are working to attract loans from international organizations and to offer lost fund schemes to spark these projects, but this is still under development. We are also perfecting waste-to-energy technologies and processes to make them more efficient and environmentally friendly. Culture has been an obstacle as it is not the state government but the municipalities that are responsible for the trash they generate. A municipality generating a small amount of trash with a small budget much prefers to simply bury it than to make a big investment for an expensive plant. For this reason, we are also promoting a strategy wherein small municipalities can band together and gather the needed amount of refuse or urban solid waste to make the project economically viable. Now is the moment to invest, and we should not miss the opportunity. The environment demands it.

Q: What is the potential of converted and revamped power plants in Mexico?

A: When the wind does not blow or the sun does not shine, industrial processes cannot stop. Thermoelectric energy is therefore the basis of any industrial process because it provides constant energy generation to keep processes running. The most efficient way to produce thermoelectric energy is with natural gas. For this reason, natural gas-based energy production will remain the backbone of the world’s generation capacity for a long time.

Q: How has CFE received Rengen’s offers to convert and revamp its power plants?

A: CFE will be a big consumer of these types of services because it has inefficient power plants that must be brought up to proper production and efficiency levels. CFE has no other choice but to improve these plants or shut them down. Although it now has the biggest share of consumers, as more producers enter the market and start to aggressively offer cheaper MWs, those consumers may leave CFE. Rengen has also been working with smaller plants in a range of 50-200MW. We have provided quotes for several clients in the center and western regions of the country. Although we have mastered the technological and economic processes required to complete the quotation, we are now working on facilitating financing solutions so our clients have access to long-term loans if they need them, thereby increasing the possibility they will accept our services. Some banks are interested in our models, as well as some international funds. This solution has also attracted the attention of CFE.

Q: What market opportunities does Rengen see in the construction of transmission lines?

A: Rengen is constantly providing project quotes for this sector. This is a highly attractive and competitive market that will boom as ever more power-generation projects are being constructed. In this area, we are finishing three projects on the Yucatan peninsula. Our goal is to offer CFE, and other customers that are looking to construct new plants, the possibility of also installing the transmission line, thus becoming a one-stop shop for them.

Rengen Energy Solutions is a Mexican engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firm specialized in building and operating gas-fueled cogeneration plants and projects for the oil and gas and petrochemical industries.