BLOWING IN THE WIND

Mexico 2019 | GREEN ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

With firm support from the investment community and sound regulation from the government, the scope for renewables in Mexico is huge.

Paolo Romanacci
BIOGRAPHY
Paolo Romanacci has over 10 years of international experience in renewable energy, particularly in Latin America and Europe. He has overseen the development and investment approval of more than 3,000MW, principally in solar and wind energy. He is responsible for the company's activities in Mexico and Central America.

Why did you choose Mexico to invest in such large projects?

Mexico has many advantages, namely its size and resources. The amount of solar power that can be generated is one of the highest in the world, which makes it possible to develop large projects of over 500MW. In addition, from an economic and social point of view, the new regulations have established a context in which one can invest large sums of money. We firmly believe that each of our projects will generate a positive change for the Mexican society, both with our goal of generating 35% of energy from renewable sources and by helping the communities close to our projects, whether it is through employment, training, or programs designed according to our Creating Shared Value philosophy.

How does your subsidiary Enel Energía Mexico complement the work of Enel Green Power Mexico?

This is part of Enel's new global line of business called Global Trading. We see a great deal of interest in the world and in Mexico among commercial and industrial clients. Mexico is an interesting market for this line of business. Our qualified supplier, Enel Energía, is the vehicle through which we will develop this market, and in the coming years it will be another important pillar of our work here. It is part of our two-step strategy to start commercializing energy in Mexico. We want to be as close as possible to our clients while also thinking about future services. This is part of another line of business we have called ENEL-X. Second, the auctions are an interesting opportunity to keep growing, though sometimes we cannot extract the total value of the project as specified. There is even more space to grow if we go directly to clients.

What are your plans with Holdco in upcoming projects such as Amistad?

Compared to other companies, we have an economic strength and stability that allows us to move quickly during the construction period. We do not have to rely on project financing for the construction, which is a major advantage for rapid development. We also bring different types of investors to our projects, which allows us to focus our resources on expansion. This economic strength is one of the reasons why we can plan, build, and operate great projects, such as Amistad, which will be considered the largest wind park complex in Mexico.

How do you plan to participate in upcoming auctions?

As much as we like to compete—and competition is an extremely important pillar to succeed in Mexico—we also like to win. We are the only company that has won all the three long-term auctions held in the country, and we plan to retain our leadership in the renewable market and our record of winning all the auctions in Mexico. The rules are slowly changing, but they need to do so even faster, as the reform needs modifications and updates. We would like for this to continue to evolve toward transparency, security, and clear rules.

How do you ensure the development of viable projects considering that the average price per project is becoming cheaper?

The fall in energy prices is a global phenomenon, mostly because the cost of energy generation is going down as well. Technology is greatly improving, which allows us to extract more energy from a single panel, reducing the costs even further. This is a trend that will continue in the coming months and years, and we can guarantee that energy will stay as cheap as it is right now.

What are the next projects in your pipeline?

We are working on the construction of first part of the Amistad wind farm complex, which will enter into operation by the end of 2018. We are also working on the construction of Salitrillos, which will enter into action at the beginning of 2019. ✖