Eduardo Batllori
Minister of Environment and Urban Developent
Yucatan
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Visionary Governments Bet on Renewables

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 12:33

Q: What are the potential effects of climate change in Yucatan given its geographical location?

A: The Yucatan State Special Program of Climate Change recognizes the increased vulnerability of the state due to its geographical location in a high-risk zone where increasingly erratic and more extreme weather events are occurring. The peninsula’s historical record of hurricanes and tropical storms over the past 100 years reveals the changes of frequency and intensity of these phenomena and the considerable economic losses and associated impacts on the social and environmental sectors. Among the potential impacts identified in the local economy are a reduction in investment from foreign and local companies related to the increased vulnerability of the region, the devaluation of real estate properties, increased costs of production in sectors such as agriculture and livestock related to higher costs for basic services such as water supply and a reduction in the volume of sales related to the scarcity of raw materials. Additionally, the impact of extreme meteorological events would continuously generate damage in diverse sectors such as transportation and communication, energy, industry, commerce, tourism and services.

Q: What will be the role of renewables in Yucatan’s energy offer?

A: Although Yucatan is a regional energy producer, production is based on natural gas and fossil fuels with five energy plants and a total generation capacity of 1,532MW. Through the Strategy of Sustainable Energy, the Yucatan government seeks to promote the transition to clean energy production, supporting wind, solar and biogas energy and setting specific lines of action to promote investment in renewable energy, build capacity and strengthen competition in the local economy through sustainable energy management, among others. The government has ambitious targets for clean energy generation of 52 percent by 2018, 79 percent by 2024 and 82 percent by 2030.

Q: How will the nine projects that were awarded in Yucatan at the auctions impact the state?

A: We expect socioeconomic and environmental effects from the different stages of the renewable energy projects, including planning, manufacturing, installation, grid connection, operation and maintenance. We believe, however, that there will be a positive impact on local communities, creating further opportunities in terms of employment, the distribution of benefits and the reduction of energy poverty.

Q: What are the recommendations for projects that must be constructed in areas with indigenous settlements?

A: We have been working with the Ministry of Energy, SEMARNAT and SEDATU to design an action plan that should be considered according to the Energy Transition Law and the Electricity Industry Law. For example, the evaluations of potential energy projects in the territory, the strategic environmental evaluations and the contact models with the communities. Right now we are working to elaborate the consultation model projects should follow with communities. We have met with different federal, state and local authorities as well as with consultants and entrepreneurs. We also will meet with the social and academic sectors. This is a federal task but we are concerned because the tenders are already done and the process is moving forward.

Q: How do you ensure that all archeological and natural resources are protected during construction?

A: To safeguard archeological and natural resources all renewable energy projects need to meet the legal dispositions and requirements set out by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and SEMARNAT.

Through SEDUMA, assistance is provided to minimize the risk of social and environmental problems derived from the development of renewable energy projects.