As published by Bnamericas on Monday, January 04, 2021
Despite President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s efforts to stymie their progress, Mexico’s renewable generation looks to make headway in 2021 with several projects coming online.
Last year was challenging for developers, as they faced delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the obstacles thrown up by a series of regulatory measures enacted by authorities to slow the progress of the renewable sector in the country, although most have already been blocked by the courts.
During 2020 the government intensified its ongoing campaign to blame grid stability issues on private renewable developers in an effort to bolster public utility CFE. During a recent widespread blackout, both CFE and grid control center Cenace said renewable participation in generation contributed to the crisis, statements which drew criticism from opposition politicians.
However, the fact remains that Mexico’s renewable potential is staggering in scale, and the country’s close proximity to the US gives companies ample access to financing and the necessary supplies. While authorities have said they do not plan to conduct any new licensing rounds for renewable generation projects, the previous rounds are still underway, with projects progressing throughout the nation.
Mexico’s energy project pipeline for 2021 is dominated by medium-sized renewable generators, all of them being developed by private players. However, CFE is also considering expanding into renewable generation, as BNamericas reported previously.
Here we highlight the five biggest projects expected to come online this year, in order of the size of the required investments, according to the BNamericas database.
Mesa de Morenos
This US$86.4mn wind farm is being built in Zacatecas state by Spain-based company BAS Corporation.
The project involves building a US$86.4mn wind farm and 230kV transmission line and its environmental impact assessment was approved by environment ministry Semarnat in 2019.
It is expected to come online in June this year.
Construction began on the US$85.2mn Xoxocotla solar park in Morelos state in 2018 and it later received a boost from a financing round held in 2020 where owner X-Elio secured US$39.4mn in loans coordinated by BID Invest to complete the project.
While there is no definitive target date to start operations, the project was reportedly affected by Cenace’s decision to forbid non-conventional renewable projects from starting testing procedures last year. The project is likely to be completed during 2021.
The US$76.2mn Coromuel wind farm is expected to add 50MW of additional capacity to the generation park in Baja California Sur in March this year.
The project is being built by US-based Eurus Energy America and is being supplied by General Electric, with Elecnor serving as constructor.
The US$72.8mn Calera photovoltaic facility belongs to Japan’s Mitsui and Trina Solar, and is expected to enter operations in April this year.
The project will add 80MW of renewable capacity in Zacatecas state. It was originally expected to start operations in June 2020.
The US$70.2mn Tampico Solar project is being built in Guanajuato state by Mexican renewables firm Prana Power, which is owned by investment fund Artha Capital.
While the project was expected to come online in December 2020, it was among a series of projects granted permission by energy commission CRE to update their timetables due to delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic. A new estimated completion date was not stated, but the project is likely to come online this year.
The solar facility, which will have a capacity of 30MW, was acquired by Prana from SunPower together with the Proteus Solar project in mid-2018.