Optimized Logistics for Utility-Scale ProjectsMon, 02/25/2019 - 16:55
Q: What is TIBA’s main contribution to the development of Mexico’s renewable energy projects?
SM: I think that our added value lies in the competitive advantage that our engineering and risk management services give to our clients. Our coverages provide the reliability that our clients need. We have a deep understanding of the renewable energy market and its operations, so our clients know they can trust us. For example, we carried out door-to-port delivery for a wind farm in Guatemala and we are currently working on similar projects in Tamaulipas and Reynosa. TIBA Mexico also completed door-to-door delivery services for wind farm components from Spain to Costa Rica.
Q: How did TIBA provide door-to-door service from Spain to Mexico for the 580MW solar farm in Coahuila?
LA: We often cater to partial sections of the PV parks as it is very hard for one single logistics operator to carry out a whole project given their size. We also contribute with several inputs through Spanish providers. Regarding the solar farm in Coahuila, the biggest challenge was to coordinate consumables logistics with inventories, as our components were only a percentage of a large-scale development. Each park has its own demands and methodologies, so we want to be as close as possible to our clients to speak their language.
Q: How do you mitigate customs risks so you can continue to meet client needs quickly and efficiently?
LA: There is a contention at a customs level that solar panels do not generate energy but works through a diode that turns it into a generator. We are reviewing this issue with our customs brokers and awaiting the resolution. Not only can this affect long-term electricity auctions, but also PPAs, as distributed generation is expected to grow around 900 percent over the next five years. So, TIBA must be ready to validate customs guidelines and understand the market targets of all the actors. Our strategy in preparing for this future is to know the plans of all producers and distributors and also to identify who is financing these new markets.
Q: What is your assessment of Mexico’s logistics infrastructure for renewable energy projects?
SM: Before tendering for a project we must know where it will be located. Regarding solar farms, the challenge is minimal as the panels are small and the only requirement for the area of installation is that it must be flat. With wind power the key factor is to have strong wind. We have an engineering division dedicated to designing the route logistics for components, from the port arrival all the way to the project’s location. I think that Mexico has a solid road infrastructure, which facilitates transport. But transport logistics require planning to prevent unforeseen circumstances occurring that could compromise our ability to deliver the component to the project site. We have alliances with multiple transport providers so we can prevent this from happening.
Q: How does TIBA tackle moving oversized cargo from one point to another in an efficient way?
LA: Regarding the challenge to adapt to new freight volumes, we usually work on a strategic forecast to map out projects at a regional scope. Once the forecast is done, we identify the nearest port infrastructure and approach APIs and port terminals to come to an agreement that maintains profitability for our clients, through the negotiation of terminal spaces and transport options at competitive costs. The Mexican market is growing and leading as one of the most important in Latin America, with a significant inflow of new players coming in to increase competitivity and project profitability. We have a close relationship with logistic-related authorities to ensure cargo delivery in a cost-efficient way.
Q: How has the routing study of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec helped you strengthen your presence in this region?
SM: When developing a route plan for projects in Yucatan, we found a lot of protected areas that prevented roads or access points from being modified. So, projects were developed with longer routes. It is very rewarding to see the faith that clients put in TIBA, trusting us with their wind farm components.