Update from the Mexican wind market

The 6th edition of Mexico Windpower was held March 1 & 2 at the Centro Banamex in Mexico City. The conference had a number of excellent sessions, focussing on the rapid evolution in the power market in Mexico due to the energy reform, and the show floor was a hive of business activity. Even though there was an increase in exhibitors, attendance was down slightly on last year; but that was attributed to the fact that everyone is very busy, either with implementation of last year’s auction results, or preparing for the next auction.

The keynote for the formal opening session was delivered by Energy Secretary Pedro Joaquin Coldwell, who noted the excellent cooperation with the industry, and especially with AMDEE in terms of bringing the tendering system for the newly liberalised energy market so far in such a short time. While acknowledging that there is still a lot more to do to meet Mexico’s ambitious targets, he noted that the next auction (the third) is now planned to be launched in April. 

The first broad policy session began with a detailed presentation from SENER’s Cesar Emiliano Hernandez, a long time wind supporter. He went into some detail on what has been achieved to date, but also noted, that for the first time in Mexico, there will be private sector participation in a tender for a new transmission line, in this case a new HVDC line from Oaxaca. This tender is scheduled for the second half of 2017.

AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan outlined the excellent year the US wind industry had in 2016, with prospects for similar performance in 2017 as well as probably in 2018. The US wind industry’s success story at job creation continues (more than 100,000), with manufacturing in 43 states now.

Laura Williamson from REN21 gave an overview of the 2016 Global Status Report, as well as outlining future REN21 publications such as the Global Futures Report, and she also outlined the ongoing preparations for Mexirec 2017 ...the next in the series of intergovernmental renewable energy conferences which began in Bonn in 2004, which will be held in Mexico from 11-13 September of this year.

There also were useful sessions on financing, the auctioning system, grid issues, etc., all signs of increasing maturation and sophistication of the Mexican market.

GWEC's Latin America panel included  Efrain Villanueva Arcos from SENER, noting that in addition to the ‘clean energy’* target for the power sector of 35% by 2024, there are also targets for 37.7% by 2030 and 50% by 2050. Christian Lühr, the head of Chile’s Auction unit at the National Energy Commission, outlined the increasing sophistication of Chile’s auction system, and how wind is set to play an increasing role. Ramon Fiestas presented the Argentine case, filling in for government officials who were busy at home signing PPAs. Riquel Mitma, Technical Coordinator for OSIENERGMIN, the Peruvian regulator, outlined their progress to date, noting that with 236 MW of wind, Peru has only tapped a bit more than 1% of its 22 GW of wind potential. He also noted that from 2009 to 2016 the average price of RE in auctions had been cut nearly in half, from $80/MWh to $43/MWh. Finally, Mauricio Gomes Machado outlined the early phase of regulatory reform which will potentially create a market for wind in Colombia.

All in all, it was a good show with lots of good content, although it was noted that we need to place more emphasis on technical sessions going forward, in line with the development of the industry. The exhibition also continued to grow, and we can expect that to continue into the future.

*Clean Energy in Mexico is defined as RE, nuclear, CCS and ‘efficient cogeneration’. It seems unlikely that any of the technologies other than RE will play a significant role, but we shall see.

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