GERARDO PÉREZ GUERRA

Mexico 2021 | GREEN ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

The Mexican energy market offers many opportunities for EDF Renewables Mexico, which plans to further diversify its energy generation matrix in the country.

Gerardo Pérez Guerra
BIOGRAPHY

Gerardo Pérez Guerra has over 25 years of experience in the energy sector. He is the former CEO of Acciona Windpower. He previously worked for Siemens Mexico for 23 years.

What were your milestones in Mexico last year?

The milestone was to maintain operations; that was the main achievement. We could not conduct new projects for obvious reasons. These are the effects of the pandemic and the regulatory changes to the energy industry. Our main achievement was that we continued working, and we did not have any layoffs. We want to continue to advance in Mexico. This year, we will celebrate 20 years, and we strive to continue in Mexico for many more.

Can you elaborate on your projects in Mexico?

We completed a project in Sonora in 2019, which was for 119MW of photovoltaic generation. The project is called Bluemex Power and is operating well, and we are supplying its entire electricity. We encountered hurdles connecting our generation unit to the grid and to the government-owned utility, though we persevered and were able to overcome the challenges and connect our project to the grid successfully.

Are you planning to start new projects in 2021 or 2022?

We have a project that we have been trying to develop in Oaxaca since 2017. It is called Eolica de Oaxaca (EDO) and is a 300-MW wind power project, which has a power-purchase agreement (PPA) of 252MW. The energy that will be produced was sold in Mexico's second long-term auction for energy and clean energy certificates supply and purchase contracts with the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), Mexico's state utility. We faced many obstacles when completing construction. First, we suffered the effects of the 2017 earthquake, which slowed down our progress. A large of part of our projects were in the cities of Juchitan and Union Hidalgo, which were greatly affected by the earthquake. We made donations to the Red Cross and supported the local population, delaying the project for a year. It was difficult at the time to resume construction works of the plant, because people needed to rebuild their homes. We resumed our efforts with the new administration of the Mexican government, which brought many changes in the processes. At this time, we are waiting to conclude the public consultation, which is done by the Secretariat of Energy. It was going to be completed in March 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic started. We have USD350 million in investment that is currently on hold. We are waiting to see what happens this year and continue to push forward, although it is very challenging because processes remain halted due to COVID restrictions. It is difficult to gather people to discuss and resolve these matters. We have a pipeline of projects of more than 1,000MW that we want to build and are in the development stage. In some cases, the project sites are located on greenfield, and in others, they are brownfield. We want to advance the projects that we can advance. We are carefully analyzing our investments. We plan to tread carefully until the conditions are given, in terms of the rules of the game.

What are your main goals for 2021?

At some point this year, we would like to start construction of our 300-MW project (EDO) and initiate another project in the northern region of the country. The situation in the north is different to that of the project of Oaxaca. The Oaxaca project already has a PPA sold. For this project, we will offer it to the market. We do not have a company that will directly purchase the energy generated. The energy will be directly sold in the stock exchange market, so there will be companies that can purchase the electricity for one or two years and then find a different supplier. That is the foreseeable future for projects because the Mexican government is changing industry requirements continuously.