Electricity Opportunities Dominate CANAME Convention

Electricity Opportunities Dominate CANAME Convention

This piece was originally published in the December 2016 issue of electroindustry.

Gustavo Dominguez Poo, Director, Latin America, NEMA

Mexico is undergoing groundbreaking reforms in its electricity sector in order to create competition, attract investment, and improve efficiency and service, according to a series of senior government and industry leaders who spoke at the 37th annual convention of the National Chamber of Electrical Manufacturers (CANAME) on October 6–9 in Quintana Roo, Mexico.

With eyes on the short- and medium-term prospects for the electrical sector in Mexico, presenters and delegates also discussed how the country can cooperate with its southern neighbors.

In his opening remarks, CANAME President Pablo Moreno outlined his organization’s objectives, including but not limited to increasing its presence in government activities related to energy, increasing the percentage of Mexican content and labor in government construction projects, and growing CANAME’s influence in Central America.

Rafael Alexandri Rionda, PhD, general director for energy planning and information for Mexico’s Energy Ministry (SENER), cited demographic trends that reinforce the need for private-sector involvement in the energy sector. For example, between 2015 and 2030, it is estimated that

  • the overall population will grow from 120 million to 137 million (14 percent);
  • the portion of the population living in cities will increase from 72 to 88 percent;
  • annual electricity consumption will increase by 65 percent (288,232 gigawatt-hours (GWh) to 476,009 GWh);
  • installed electricity generation capacity will increase by 61 percent (68,044 to 109,367MW); and
  • as a share of total generation, conventional generation will decline from 78 percent to 35 percent, while clean generation will increase from 22 percent to 65 percent.

In addition, a main objective is creating a more efficient electrical system, Dr. Alexandri said. SENER expects energy-efficiency efforts to produce significant energy savings.

Rubén Flores García, an independent advisor at CFE (the incumbent state-owned electric utility), cited the main reasons for Mexico’s electricity reforms as increasing efficacy, investment, and innovation through competition in electricity generation and supply.

Roberto Vidal, an engineer and distribution director at CFE, explained that the utility’s separation into multiple business units is still in progress. He reported that almost six percent of CFE’s distribution infrastructure is more than 40 years old, with eight percent of power transformers and six percent of distribution transformers in place for that period. The CFE general director provided a detailed briefing on CFE’s emerging new structure and operations.

On energy efficiency at the product level, Odeon del Buen, director at CONUEE (Mexico’s energy efficiency regulator) cited that Mexico has mandatory energy-efficiency standards (known as NOMs) for more than 30 product areas.

With regard to forging connections with Central America, areas for cooperation include transmission interconnection (which is still being negotiated) and regional standardization, according to Ambassador Bruno Figueroa Fischer, a project director at Mexico’s international development cooperation agency.

Read the December 2016 issue of electroindustry.

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