Successfully Following Clients to MexicoWed, 02/19/2014 - 16:42
“When participating in a bidding process, value engineering procedures are the most important asset, which means providing high quality solutions at a competitive price that provide our clients with a sustainable advantage over their competitors,” says Pablo Salazar Magaña, Director General at MEXTYPSA. TYPSA is a global engineering company involved in areas such as installations, architecture, infrastructure, roads, railways, airports, and water engineering, among others. Needless to say, the company felt the need to be involved in the Mexican renewable energy market.
TYPSA has a long history in the hydropower market, building a number of hydropower dams in Spain, but it was not until ten years ago that the company became interested in solar and wind energy. Until now, the wind department has been responsible for 15GW in installed capacity across the globe, while the solar department has developed installations with a capacity totaling 2GW. The renewable energy division has become the most important pillar for TYPSA, despite not being the firm’s main source of income.
The company arrived in Mexico in 2008, following Spanish clients that were already active in the country, and started operations one year later. “The fact that our frequent customers from other parts of the world were already here meant that we could have the same client base in Mexico,” tells Salazar. MEXTYPSA has already participated in three wind farms for Vestas, two for Gamesa, one for Enel, and another one for Tradeco. The firm has also finished a 30MW solar park in Baja California for Martifer, one of the largest in Mexico to date. For Salazar, Mexico’s solar energy potential is undisputable. “The solar sector will continue developing, as Mexico has plenty of resources. If Germany can reach outstanding levels of solar energy production, Mexico can do anything,” he tells. In addition to these Mexican solar and wind sectors, MEXTYPSA is experiencing great growth in the hydro sector. According to Salazar, Mexico suffers from uneven water distribution, with great humidity in the south and dry areas in the north. To help solve this, MEXTYPSA is developing aqueducts to transport water from the humid areas to the dry regions. In order to continue providing similar problem solving tactics, TYPSA is constantly investing in its research and development. The firm has a laboratory in Spain where it runs small-scale hydro simulations, including channels, ports, and dams as part of the research phase to improve technical details of larger projects. TYPSA also develops its own software for simulations, and has an ongoing research project focused on the optimization of foundations for offshore wind generators. This particular effort is focused on reducing the development cost of this relatively expensive renewable energy technology.
MEXTYPSA is not looking to get involved in transmission, although it can provide transmission infrastructure to support its projects should it be needed. Salazar identifies CFE’s total control over national transmission infrastructure as a major issue. “In a free market, it is common to negotiate with several operators and potential third parties that could benefit from the additional kilometers of transmission lines that are to be built. This creates the possibility to reduce and split the infrastructure costs.” In Mexico, however, developers are moving their projects as close to the transmission lines as possible to gain access to the grid. The distance to the grid interconnection point determines the cost of the necessary transmission line, which ultimately determines how developers prioritize projects.
“One of the objectives of Mexico’s National Energy Strategy is diversifying the methods used to produce energy and the financing mechanisms for these projects. This benefits MEXTYPSA because investors and producers that have worked with the firm in other parts of the world are requesting the company’s services in Mexico. International players that were previously not present in Mexico are arriving in the country with high expectations and strong investment capital,” says Salazar, who interprets this as an indicator that the market is moving in the right direction and will continue to do so. “We think we are very well positioned in the Mexican market, considering that we have only been operating here for four years,” states Salazar. During this time, the company has been involved in all sorts of projects. MEXTYPSA’s positioning in the Mexican market is the result of executing its value engineering strategy, the next challenge is becoming a reference in engineering in Mexico.