In a world rushing to produce clean energies, Mexico is emerging as a rebel without a cause. The National Center for Energy Control (Cenace) is suspending grid connections of new solar and wind farms until further notice.
The reason behind this measure, announced in late April, was the intermittency of solar and wind power generation. However, the State’s electricity market operator believes that this move could compromise Mexico’s energy security during difficult times.
“The intermittent generation at wind and photovoltaic power plants affects the reliability of the nation’s electricity system, impacting the sufficiency, quality; and continuity of the energy supply,” Cenace stated in a document establishing the rules for the country’s electricity market during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Es responsabilidad del Estado, garantizar la confiabilidad del sistema en forma ordenada, continua y eficaz. TODAS las fuentes de energía de México deberán cumplir con el ordenamiento publicado en el @DOF_SEGOB.https://t.co/bSWfqCjrqh pic.twitter.com/IvR49acFnY
— SENER México (@SENER_mx) May 16, 2020
The sector speaks out
The measure was immediately denounced by the business community as a government attempt to interfere with private companies.
“Without a solid technical motivation or a completely justified legal basis, Cenace has neglected its legal mandate to safeguard the efficiency of the national electric system and competition in the electricity market. This negatively impacts thousands of consumers in the commercial and industrial sector,” the Business Coordinating Council stated.
Un total de 44 proyectos de #EnergíasLimpias con una #inversión de 6,400 millones de dólares se verán afectados por el acuerdo de CENACE. Conoce más en: https://t.co/6RsAdebr9x pic.twitter.com/DBpesJNTqt
— Comisión Energía CCE (@cceenergia) May 7, 2020
“Power generation through renewables – which represents an investment of more than $20 billion in our country – is an essential economic activity for Mexico’s development. We make a respectful call to authorities to promote union and solidarity in the nation at this time of emergency and eliminating anti-competitive practices that hinder the national legal framework,” the text continues.
The organism also announced that the private sector in the power generation business will take the necessary legal measures to preserve the land and Mexican’s right to a healthy environment.
The CCE manifested that the measure is the final blow against clean energies by the Mexican government.
The Mexican Wind Energy Association (AMDEE) stated that the new rules for the use of fossil energies over renewables have no economic rationale.
The association stresses that the government’s decision has direct repercussions on many projects in this sector. Many of said projects are ready to be commissioned or begin the construction phase. “Specifically, the agreement has a negative impact on 44 clean energy generation projects (…) backed by more than $6.4 billion of direct investment.”
Furthermore, it adds that the announced measures entails the emission of 714,000 tons of CO2 in monthly emissions and puts 25,500 jobs at risk.
— AMDEE (@AMDEEMX) May 7, 2020
A long feud
With its conservative approach regarding the energy industry and protectionist attitude towards state-owned companies, the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is trying to suffocate renewables to support state-controlled Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).
The Mexican president has not been shy with his attitude towards clean energies. He told the press that previous governments have formed “dirty businesses” with “clean energies.”
AMLO sustained that renewable usage will continue. But he described the prevailing marginalization against the Federal Electricity Commission: “The CFE was left aside as if it didn’t produce clean energies. The preferential treatment was given only to private companies.”
A step further
Mexico and Latin America at large have been slow to develop a reasonable energy storage capacity, even after being identified as crucial for the long term success of solar and wind power. The intermittent nature of this energy is also a real problem. The solution is energy storage. Mexico built its first energy storage site in late 2018, at an automobile factory.
A year later, the first battery facility, which also has frequency regulation capabilities, was commissioned in Puebla.
For more information, check Energía16