Mexico aims to be major global wind energy player

The Mexico WindPower 2014 conference that was held from February 26 to 27, was set to debate the country’s energy future in the aftermath of Mexico’s recent Energy Reform. The new legislation ends the 75 year-old oil, gas and electricity monopoly and opens the energy market in generation and trading to new opportunities for the growing wind power sector in the country.

Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, Secretary of Energy, representing President Enrique Peña Nieto, officially opened Mexico WindPower 2014—the annual wind industry event in Mexico.

Mr. Coldwell conveyed the President’s message that no limit will be set for private investors wanting to do business in Mexico, under the new Energy Reform, and that the role of the Independent System Operator (CENACE) will be key to ensuring a sound implementation as a facilitator of supply and demand. He went on to convey the human and environmental importance of the reform: “Renewable energy, besides reducing the current negative impact on the environment, will present solutions for people found in areas of difficult access. The use of renewable energy is there to help us solidify the path which will rekindle humankind with nature.”

2014 is set to mark a year of change for the wind industry in Mexico thanks to the new legislation. The reform will enable greater involvement of the private sector and allow higher level of flexibility in bilateral cooperation between private entities. The new law sets a target of 35% of clean energy to all the players in the energy sector and helps implement the renewables roadmap towards this objective.

“The Mexican government has set clear targets for the sector, challenging the industry to install ~2 gigawatts per year for the next decade. We accept the challenge, and with any luck Mexico will be one of the major wind markets globally going forward”, said Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of Global Wind Energy Council, partner of the event.

The Mexican Wind Energy Association, AMDEE, has set a target of 12,000 megawatts of wind power by 2022. This would bring over 10,000 megawatts more than Mexico currently has, representing potentially the generation of 11,100 jobs and close to MXN30 billion growth in the GDP.

“The Energy Reform, passed in December last year, is by far the most important change in the electricity sector after the nationalization of the electricity industry in 1960, but also constitutes a true reform of State as its effects go beyond the administration of President Peña Nieto, making clear the firm intention of promoting the modernization of the sector and the competitiveness of the domestic industry in an increasingly complex global environment.” said José Adrián Escofet Cedeño, President of AMDEE.

The creation of a market for electric power generation will result in the medium term in better rates and greater certainty about the stability of electricity prices and energy security of the country. In addition, the appointment of the CENACE has been put in place to control and facilitate the planning for the expansion of the sector and the operations of the electricity market. A timely and coordinated planning of the electricity sector, incorporating the private generator, is essential to promoting efficient construction of the infrastructure necessary to the fulfill national targets for electricity generation with non-fossil fuels.

As a reflection of the market going forward, the exhibition attracted the highest number of booths to date tended by the market’s key players such as Siemens, Vestas, GE, Acciona, Alstom, DPH, EY, ESEASA and Pochteca. The US showed a strong presence with a US pavilion dedicated to eight major US companies that have expressed their desire to invest in the wind industry in Mexico.