Jorge Lobatón
Director General for Mexico & Latam

Top OEM Third Year in a Row

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 09:57

Gamesa’s predominance in the Mexican wind power market goes without question. The Biscay, Spain-based company holds over 50 percent of the local industry’s market share and was named the top-ranked wind OEM in the country for the third year in a row, according to MAKE Consulting’s “Global Wind Turbine O&M 2016” report.

Since its arrival here in 1999, Gamesa has installed around 2GW of wind farms. When asked about the company’s recipe for success, Jorge Lobatón, Director General of Gamesa for Mexico & LATAM, is clear: “Our technology focuses on reducing energy costs. Three or four years ago there were many areas in Mexico where it was impossible to develop profitable wind farms but our innovative products, tailor-made for the Mexican market, made it possible. Companies that do not innovate are condemned to disappear. We are always looking to innovate to increase the competitiveness of Gamesa and wind energy in different market settings and we are proud to say that we have achieved it in Mexico.”

Gamesa also counts product diversification and adaptability as necessary ingredients in making it a global leader. “Particular locations present their own challenges and characteristics so we adapt to the needs of each client,” Lobatón says. “Our ultimate goal is to provide solutions that allow customers to produce energy efficiently and at competitive costs. We have four different product platforms, including 2MW, 2.5MW, 3.3MW and 5MW and each platform includes technologies that are common to all of them. For instance, in the 2MW platform, we handle rotors with diameters from 80m (G80), like the ones already used in Oaxaca’s wind farms, up to 114m (G114). In between we have rotors such as G90 and G97. Similarly, we handle different tower heights, going from 44m to above 120m. This versatility allows us to play with different components to find the right solution for each customer under a wide range of conditions.”

Even though the company has not yet built manufacturing facilities in Mexico, Lobatón considers that a possibility. “We are awaiting the opening of a wind tower manufacturing plant in 2017 from WINDAR Renovables, a company in which Gamesa holds a stake. We are evaluating the possibility of manufacturing more in Mexico to reduce logistics costs, a significant part of our business.”

To strengthen its position, Gamesa is turning to local companies, establishing long-term agreements with local providers and partners such as manufacturers in Coahuila and Ciudad Juarez. “What we generally look for in our partners can be summarized in three points: quality, commitment and cost-competitiveness. We consider it important to support the development of a local value chain. We have been supporting the industry through agreements with our partners but we have not made any direct investment yet,” Lobatón says.

The company’s commitment to the Mexican market is also reflected in its plans to open an O&M hub in Oaxaca, which will not only serve Gamesa’s clients in Mexico but throughout Latin America. “The O&M services unit, managed by a highly qualified international team,  constitutes a fundamental tool for the creation of value from the development, servicing and profitable operation of wind projects. Gamesa has a large O&M team operating almost 3GW of O&M contracts in Latin America. In 2017, the company will inaugurate its new installations in Oaxaca, equipped with offices, storage and training, operation and repair centers. This new installation will be the O&M hub for Latin America, including Brazil,” he says.

Lobatón sees great potential for wind energy in Mexico even though solar projects held the spotlight in 2016 due to CENACE’s power auction results, particularly in the first event. “Although solar energy was the main technology of the first power auction, the results were highly influenced by the economic benefits given to certain geographical areas. But in the second power auction, in which all regions competed on a level playing field, wind energy accounted for 43 percent percent of the capacity. This is up from 20 percent obtained in the first auction. Solar energy reached 54 percent versus 80 percent in the first auction."