Miguel Puras
Director General
SER Consultores
View from the Top

Walking Clients from Due Dilligence to Deployment

Fri, 02/01/2019 - 16:08

Q: Why should companies developing an energy project choose SER Consultores to complete environmental and social impact assessments?

A: We have the capacity to accompany our clients from due diligence to the deployment of the project and can even follow them in their operation and maintenance activities to ensure that environmental and social responsibilities are always considered. In terms of due diligence, we have provided services to ensure flawless change of land usage, together with flora and fauna studies. We acquired those capabilities, and many others, by focusing all our activities in Mexico and moving from Spain, where the company started. We have worked in the states with the highest potential for the development of renewable energy projects: Oaxaca, Yucatan, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua, San Luis Potosi, Queretaro, Zacatecas and Veracruz. Our consultancy also covers the mining industry, railway industry and road projects.
This broad experience is important because we need to ensure that every project we are involved in complies with all social and environmental requirements. We are the face of our clients in front of the regulatory institutions and ensure that the EPC companies they hired correctly follow every process, that the project complies with all requirements and that its development will encounter no issues. The way we work is by maintaining constant interaction with both the developers and the EPC companies. When working with EPC companies we have close contact with the people working onsite to make sure the nuts and bolts of the operation are correctly managed in line with all the regulatory requirements. Furthermore, from our studies, we are capable of analyzing the risks involved in a project and proposing ways to manage those based on the rules dictated by the International Finance Corporation.

Q: Why did SER Consultores turn to Mexico when deciding to offer its consultancy services?

A: Some members of our team worked for the Interamerican Development Bank in defining a public policy recommendation that would maximize the benefits of the communities where wind power projects were taking place in Mexico. This activity was performed in 2013 while all the members were still in Spain, and it was our first contact with Mexico. After finishing this workshop with the IDB, we saw Mexico as a highly attractive market, and therefore decided to venture into it. To date, SER Consultores has already worked in over 2.3GW of projects.
Q: What is needed to improve project development regulation in Mexico?

A: The social and environmental regulation in Mexico has been evaluated by a wide array of public and private players, and overall it is showing good results. The implementation of a strong regulation is extremely important to ensure that projects are finished and deployed while maximizing benefits for the communities involved. Leaving gaps in this regulatory framework could open room for misinterpretation from both companies and communities, which can lead to legal hurdles that do not only affect the projects but the industry as a whole. What we need now is to implement the regulation more effectively as well as to decrease the amount of unnecessary bureaucracy that creates bottlenecks and delays the economic benefits for both companies and communities.
Q: How can the long-term electricity auctions be improved for the benefit of the country and project developers?

A: Mexico has gone through the titanic task of opening its market in record time. It has managed to positively take into account the best international practices and models. The long-term electricity auctions have been successful in the sense that they are attracting investment into the country but we see potential for the government and regulators to consider equally-important aspects besides lower price schemes. One way this could be done is to use a points system and assign points to a project depending on the state of its environmental and social assessments.