Sonora Puts Its Energy Ambitions on The TableBy Pedro Alcalá | Wed, 03/09/2022 - 12:00
Sonora is on a path to become one of Mexico’s most important states for renewable energy development, as well as a benchmark for political strategies that benefit the acceleration of Mexico’s energy transition, according to Sonora Governor Alfonso Durazo.
The infrastructure development plans of this state government centralize energy and logistics to take as much advantage as possible of Sonora’s privileged geography. Among the state’s advantages are 179,000km² of strongly solar-irradiated territory, 800km of Gulf of California coastline and over 580km of borders with the US, specifically with the states of Arizona and New Mexico. The benefits that these characteristics provide have led to the development of the ‘Northwest Gate’ infrastructure development strategy, one of the most ambitious of its kind. The strategy includes the expansion of the port at Guaymas to double its capacity and become a competitive logistical option for the North Pacific region, the development of so-called ‘fiscal corridors’ to facilitate the transborder traffic of merchandise, the renovation of six border crossings and the construction of the Guaymas-Chihuahua highway, among other key construction works.
These infrastructure ambitions are tied to Sonora’s energy ambitions. They will be an important part of Sonora’s goal to become a net exporter of energy, a high-minded goal considering that Sonora is one of Mexico’s biggest energy consumers and one of the highest paying energy markets, partly due to the state’s climate-related peaks in both summer and winter. Sonora wants to build an energy ecosystem in which state, federal and private investment is integrated into Sonora’s energy supply chains. This includes the mining of key minerals, or as Durazo put it, “The ecosystem will also allow for the extraction of rare minerals such as lithium, which will allow Sonora to strengthen electromobility and facilitate technology for the installation of the largest solar park in the Americas.” Durazo furthermore plans to prepare Sonora for a future defined by electromobility by creating investment plans that lead to the construction of an electric vehicle (EV) charging station network, as well as other large-scale electrified transportation infrastructure projects.
Durazo highlighted one of the center pieces of the government’s overall energy transition strategy, the Puerto Peñasco solar park. With a gigantic capacity of 1GW, it will be the largest solar energy generation project on the continent and the seventh-largest in the world. However, Durazo mentioned that state investment is also focused on distributed generation (DG) projects and other small power plants that seek to build stable energy for smaller and more independent communities in the State. Durazo’s government aims to integrate the development of indigenous communities into these plans by creating special economic zones where these benefits can be shared. “We believe there should be no conflict between the aims of social justice and those of the energy transition. Ending poverty, guaranteeing energy security and attracting investment must be the end goals of all policy design,” said Durazo. The gravity of Sonora’s vision is consolidated in its objective to have 100 percent of all energy consumption by the state government come from renewable sources by the end of the administration in 2027. “Sonora is open for business and clean energy,” concluded Durazo.