Sailing In Mexico's Wind Power IndustryWed, 02/21/2018 - 11:31
Q: What is Ventus' forte in green energy projects?
JS: Ventus offers services across the whole spectrum of a project. The company was established seven years ago in Uruguay, providing services in the wind energy projectdevelopment phase. In time, our clients expressed an interest in having us accompany them the rest of the way. We are structured to work with separate and specialized departments in engineering, construction and O&M, providing considerable risk mitigation in all the projects that we undertake.
Q: How does your focus on Latin America make you a better option than other foreign companies?
JS: We learned a lot while growing as a company focused on renewable energy in Uruguay. Seven years ago, our country was devoid of wind power. Following a major renewable energy boom, many external players entered the market, mainly Spanish and Portuguese companies, to provide the missing infrastructure required to complete all the new projects. In 90 percent of these cases, foreign companies lacked in-depth knowledge or experience with all the local aspects, including network operators — CFE in Mexico, UTE in Uruguay — which generated considerable problems, delays and additional costs. We knew how UTE operated, its needs and how to satisfy them. We always make a point to apply our cumulated expertise combined with the use of local resources, with long-term objectives.
Q: Which are Ventus' most successful projects?
JS: A few years ago, we developed a project in Uruguay for which we structured a financial trust where we issued a private offer of US$20 million to finance the construction of a wind farm. Seventy-six investors of all sizes participated in the trust, including companies and private individuals, with amounts ranging from US$20,000 to US$4 million. This strategy has no equal in Uruguay or in Latin America. We are looking to replicate this scheme in other countries, taking into account each one’s legal specificities. More recently in Argentina we attained a position of strength in a short period of time. Since our arrival in January 2016, we are today working in 80 percent of the projects granted in the countries’ latest power auctions.
Q: How have the first two electricity auctions in Mexico and the MEM piqued your interest in the country?
JS: When we decided to expand from Uruguay, pushed by a saturation of the market due to over-investment, we started analyzing Latin America’s biggest markets. Mexico is a market made up of more than 3,000MW of installed wind power capacity in operation, with the potential of tripling, which will generate more opportunities for companies like Ventus. We know there is fierce competition because it is a market that has been developing for many years with very competitive prices. We are not interested in engaging in a price war, but in providing a competitive proposal as a whole.
Q: How would Ventus like to be known by its customers?
AL: Juan and I share the idea that we want the largest developers such as Acciona, Enel or Iberdrola to see Ventus as a trustworthy partner for their projects, that our flexibility can be brought to the table, not only to assist in the development phase but also in the construction and O&M stages.
Q: What does Ventus’ near future look like in Mexico?
AL: Ventus’ history tells us that five years from now the company will be a reference for reliability as a leader in renewable energy, providing services to the major players. Seven years ago we undertook small operations in Uruguay, and now companies like SKF look to Ventus to form alliances.
JS: Five years ago, Ventus started with five people and we never anticipated that today we would have an asset of more than 70 professionals. Our constant has been and will be maintaining a problem-solving focus with our experience as an added value for our clients and their projects.