Rodrigo Osorio
CEO
Urban Labs Holding
/
Startup Contributor

Baja California Sur Electrical System: Opportunities, Part 2

By Rodrigo Osorio | Thu, 07/21/2022 - 09:00

(This is the second in a two-part article exploring the energy landscape in Baja California Sur. Read part 1 here.)

In the Baja California Sur State Development Plan 2021-2027, the new government recognizes the need to invest in renewable projects and proposes objectives, strategies, lines of action, goals and indicators to develop renewable energy projects. However, the publication of the Baja California Sur Energy Sector Program (PSEBCS) is pending. This is the planning instrument for the state energy sector prepared by the Ministry of Urban Planning, Infrastructure and Mobility of the State; it must be aligned with the State Development Plan and propose an energy policy that allows the development of the state's renewable potential.

Among the private initiatives that are in process, there are photovoltaic projects such as the Toba Energy Center Photovoltaic Solar Park in Comondu, which has already completed construction and has a capacity of 30MWp, plus 80MWh of an Invenergy Corporation storage system. Likewise, the company Engie is developing the “Insurgentes” Photovoltaic Solar Park with a capacity of 27MWp.

The Coromuel Wind Farm, which is about to start operations, has a capacity of 50 MW, plus 10MWh of storage developed by the Eurus Energy America Corporation Company.

Likewise, a natural gas storage and distribution plant is being built. The New Fortress Energy Company is developing this project in the Port of Pichilingue, 17km from the city of La Paz, with the capacity to supply and distribute liquefied natural gas and with power generation of 105MW; it will also supply natural gas to two CFE plants.

On the other hand, a combined cycle plant is being built, known as Baja California Sur VI of 327 MW. CFE is investing MX$9.8 billion (US$496 million) in this project that began construction in 2021.

In July 2020, CFE canceled the auction for the construction of Baja California Sur IV, an internal combustion plant, which would have produced 42MW. For this reason, there is still a door of opportunity for projects to be proposed to strengthen the state's electrical potential.

To ensure that no options are left out, all generation possibilities must be explored, from tidal energy in the Gulf and on the coast, to new technologies, such as hydrogen storage and bioenergy.

In previous administrations, the possibility of interconnecting the National Interconnected System with the BCSES was proposed through a submarine cable that would cross the Gulf of California, with 1,308km of natural gas direct current transmission lines in the combined cycle plants located in Sinaloa and Sonora. This project would include fiber optics, improving the quality of telecommunications services for the region's citizens.

The state has a great opportunity to develop innovative solutions to address all these problems. Given the challenges posed, it is of the utmost importance to bet on a strategic planning of the state energy policy. To do this, it is necessary to create an Energy Agency specialized in the energy matters of the state. It is essential that this agency has its own budget and independence to operate on the planning, evaluation and design of public policies for the development of strategic projects in the field of electricity and hydrocarbons.

Likewise, the Sectoral Energy Plan that will soon be issued must articulate the energy policy with a six-year vision, aligned with the State Development Plan and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is important to translate this vision into the municipalities, creating Municipal Energy Efficiency Plans that include the implementation of energy efficiency in public lighting, verification programs for vehicles, updates to municipal regulations with the Official Norms on Energy Efficiency, as well as the application of the ISO certification methodology for energy efficiency in buildings. [1] Exploring energy generation models through solid waste also represents a great opportunity for municipalities.

It is also desirable to design public policies that promote solar roofs on homes. The "Solar Bonds" program led by Mexico Climate Initiative (ICM) is a good example. [2]

To strengthen the network, it is important to promote hybrid systems with backup batteries and generators, even considering investment in a storage bank for the BCSES, at least for La Paz. Energy storage systems can supply power to the grid.

In promoting Distributed Generation in the state, it is important to consider the development of smart grids and microgrids that integrate measurement, information and communication technologies.

Given the state's situation, the creation of a green tax on polluting emissions emitted by fixed sources should even be considered. This would allow investment in new schemes to generate clean electricity and implement pollution-mitigation projects.

 

[1] Center for Renewable Energy and Environmental Quality Ac. (CERCA).. Energy Proposals for BCS, 2021. Energy Program. Retrieved from: https://www.cerca.org.mx/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Valenzuela-et-al-propuestas_energia_28052021.pdf

[2] IDEM.

Photo by:   Rodrigo Osorio