Mexico Issues Clean Technologies and Fuels Strategy, including for Wind Energy

Jan 21, 2015

In the Official Gazette of December 19, 2014, Mexico’s Secretary of Energy, Pedro Joaquin Caldwell, issued the Transition Strategy to Promote the Use of Cleaner Technologies and Fuels (“Transition Strategy”), as an integral part of the April 2014 National Program for the Sustainable Use of Energy, 2014-2018.  Publication of the Transition Strategy obeys a requirement contemplated under the December 2013 constitutional modification that led to the recent reform of the Mexican energy sector, about which Nexant has blogged.

Beyond the introductory language providing background, methodology and context, the core of the Transition Strategy is its enumeration of a series of recommendations for Mexico to increase the use of cleaner technologies and fuels.  These recommendations include items under the headings of (i) energy savings in buildings, industry and transport, (ii) bioenergy, (iii) wind energy, (iv) solar energy (v) geothermal energy, (vi) hydro energy, and (vii) smart grids and distributed generation. The Transition Strategy discusses global trends and recommended actions for each of these areas.

The actions the Transition Strategy recommends for wind energy fall into the categories of:

  • Regulations and Public Policies, including the (i) establishment of quality and performance norms and standards to ensure the operation of wind generation technologies in local operating conditions, and (ii) strengthening and development of simplified regulations and procedures relating to permits, and boundary and land-use guarantees; 
  • Institutions, including the (i) strengthening of long-term planning capabilities for new wind power plants, (ii) development and integration of a public database with information on the availability and potential of wind resources in order to facilitate project implementation, and (iii) establishment of regional institutions to monitor wind projects, and prevent, minimize and mitigate social and environmental impacts;
  • Technical Capabilities, including the development of (i) training and certification programs for the planning, installation, maintenance and operation of wind systems, and (ii) training programs for technical staff and public sector decision-makers for the implementation of network operating procedures;
  • Markets and Financing, including the (i) creation of public-private joint venture investment partnerships for wind projects, and (ii) consolidation of the Clean Energy Certificates (CEC) system, about which Nexant has blogged, to allow clean power plants to earn additional income; and
  • Research and Development, including the (i) development of more accurate weather and micro-location models, and of maintenance practices that improve wind project performance and costs, (ii) development of national and regional capabilities in wind technology design and optimization for its operation in extreme conditions, and (iii) strengthening and development of capabilities for implementing energy storage systems and intelligent technologies to reduce intermittency- and ecosystem-related wind energy system impacts.

 

The recommended actions for energy savings, bioenergy, solar energy, geothermal energy, hydro energy, smart grids and distributed generation similarly fall into these five categories.

In regard to follow-up and next steps, the Transition Strategy directs the Mexican federal government to empanel an Advisory Council to hear input from interested stakeholders (i.e., representatives from domestic industry, universities, research institutions, non-governmental organizations and the public sector) on ways to implement the recommendations contemplated under the Transition Strategy; however, the Transition Strategy contemplates no penalization for failure to adopt the recommendations contained therein, and it allocates no monies in support of such recommendations, making it a largely hortatory document.  In this regard, the Transition Strategy more accurately serves as a guide on ways to support renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives, in the context of a newly reformed domestic energy sector, for those who craft future Mexican federal budgets.