May 15 (Renewables Now) - The Mexican energy secretariat, Sener, has designed new measures to frustrate new renewables, but putting the plan into motion was thwarted at the last minute, local business newspaper El Financiero reported this week.
Sener is looking to limit permitting for new renewable power plants and ban their construction in areas where some already operate, all in the name of stability of the electricity system. The plan is outlined in the document called “Policy of reliability, security, continuity in the national electricity system”, which was seen by El Financiero, the newspaper writes.
“The present policy envisages the penetration of intermittent clean energy power plants, photovoltaic and wind, in a more orderly fashion […], reducing as far as possible forced outages associated with the generation, particularly dangerous as the sun rises and sets, as well in the critical hours of the national electricity system, which expose the national electricity system and end users to financial damages” an excerpt chosen by El Financiero reads.
According to the newspaper, power plants that already have a contract for connection until before the measures are published in the official state gazette can add their capacity to the grid. Construction in areas where the transmission system and transformers are congested is prohibited and permitting is limited to places where there is demand.
The energy secretariat planned to publish the proposal in the official state gazette immediately, forgoing the process of regulatory impact analysis. El Financiero said this was evidenced by an email exchange between Sener’s chief of legal affairs unit and the deputy general director of the official state gazette to which it had access.
The state gazette blocked the publication, so now the proposed measures will have to go through the National Commission for Regulatory Improvement (Conamer), the report states.
Sener’s new plan comes just two weeks after it told electricity system operator Cenace to do everything in its powers to strengthen and maintain the quality and reliability of the power supply while Mexico deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cenace responded by suspending indefinitely performance tests of new wind and PV farms that were about to start commercial operations. It will also block permits for all pending tests for an unspecified amount of time.
This prompted Mexican competition body Cofece to react and call for defined conditions for lifting the suspension and rules on when the tests can resume.