Country Reports


SUPPORTING POLICIES FOR OCEAN ENERGY


NATIONAL STRATEGY
Short and medium term goals have been set for the generation of electricity from clean energy sources. The Energy Transition Law (LTE) establishes a minimum share of clean energy in electricity generation of 25% by 2018, 30% by 2021 and 35% by 2024.

To strengthen the operation of the Mexican Energy Innovation Centres (CEMIEs), the Ministry of Energy, through the Energy Sustainability Fund, developed Technological Roadmaps (TRM) for different renewable energies, including geothermal, ocean energy, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, wind and bioenergy. These TRM help in the definition of the pathway and initiatives for the strategic planning aimed to increase the clean energy generation in the country. The TRM are focused on strengthening technological capabilities, including infrastructure, specialized human resources and technological services. They also prioritize the actions to reach the 2030 goals for installed capacity, as well as detailed activities, identification of stakeholders, targets and milestones in a specific timeframe. Based on these assumptions, it is estimated that ocean energy can contribute with 500 to 1000 MW of installed electrical capacity by 2030.


MARKET INCENTIVES
Mexico offers Clean Energy Certificates to consumers which use clean electricity or reduce emissions by processes defined in Article 3, section XXII of the Electricity Industry Law. By 2018, for the power generation sector must buy at least 5% of these clean energy certificates. This figure is expected to increase to 5.8% by 2019, 7.4% by 2020, 10.9% by 2021 and 13.9% by 2022. Currently, SEMARNAT (Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources) is working on the preparation of a carbon market which aims to create national and international mechanisms to benefit low carbon initiatives, however it will take time to see how this market can integrate and interact with clean energy technologies.


PUBLIC FUNDING PROGRAMMES
The Energy Transition and the Sustainable Use of Energy Fund was created by the Ministry of Energy and the National Science and Technology Council to promote and support projects and initiatives which contribute to the fulfilment of the National Strategy for Energy Transition and the Sustainable Use of Energy based on:

  • The encouragement of the use and application of clean technologies in all productive chains;
  • The diversification of primary sources of energy;
  • The establishment of a standardization programme for energy efficiency;
  • The promotion of measures for energy efficiency, as well as saving energy;
  • Ensuring that the population has access to reliable, timely and easily accessible information regarding the energy consumption of any electrical equipment;

The Sustainable Energy Fund is intended to facilitate any initiative to develop areas of energy efficiency, renewable sources, use of clean technologies and the diversification of primary sources of energy through four lines of action:

  1. Capacity building: develop scientific, technological and innovation capacities in academia, industry, society and government; promote the link between the stakeholders from the energy sector and influence them to foster the development of innovative projects.
     
  2. Research, development and innovation: Identify and prioritize technological development opportunities and promote research and knowledge transfer towards commercial applications.
     
  3. Training: Promote the coordination and information acquisition for timely decision-making; assist in the training and recruitment of talented personnel to run the sector, create, apply and generate knowledge, products and services of high value.
     
  4. International agenda: Promote international collaboration in programmes, projects and activities of the Fund.

 


RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
 

Through CEMIE-Oceano:

  1. The Salinity Gradients Group has been working in two main directions: a) investigating natural salinity gradient resources in the Mexican Pacific and Atlantic; and b) experimenting with the acquisition of energy from salinity gradients. Both research areas are new in Mexico and efforts have been directed towards investigating these fields elsewhere. The team has begun a) to characterize salinity gradients around Mexico: three coastal sites will be monitored in order to quantify temporal variations of the gradients and their energy potentials, and b) to test existing membranes, materials and prototype configurations. Using the method of Reverse Electro Dialysis (RED), the best cost-energy ratio (production-life) of these components is being determined.
     
  2. The Tidal and Current Group has been gathering existing information on bathymetry and currents for two test sites. For the Cozumel region, coastal bathymetric data is already available, and field campaigns are being organized to gather multibeam information for the Cozumel Channel. Acoustic current profiler data for a deep mooring (400 m) and a shallow mooring (15 m) from existing projects is also available. The assessments of these data show that the coastal current is too weak and too variable to be a viable energy source. The proximity of fragile ecosystems (coral reefs) also precludes the use of this energy source here. The deep water currents are a much better option, with unidirectional currents of more than 1 m/s 62% of the time. However, connection to the energy network is difficult at such depths. Field measurements of currents and ambient turbulence at 50 m and 75 m depths are planned, much closer to shore but deep enough to find stronger currents. For the Gulf of California field campaigns will be carried out. Instrumentation has been tested and the teams are ready to start the deployments. There are also advancements in materials for biofouling and on the development of new prototypes. Numerical modelling of ocean currents at national scale is being performed to assess this resource in areas previously overlooked.
     
  3. The Ecology Group has been working on the regional effects on the distribution and abundance of marine mammals following installation of alternative marine energy plants, lifecycle databases, the determination of regional effects of the installation of oceanic energy plants on key species and coastal ecosystems, detailed geological-geomorphological assessment of potentially suitable sites for the location of coastal power plants in Veracruz, the selection of potential installation sites to minimize the effects on the distribution and biodiversity of coastal species and the evaluation of the relationship of the sea with the bioclimate and with energy consumption in Mexico.
     
  4. The Wave Energy Group is verifying the operation of two WECs for possible installation in the Mexican Pacific. The design and operational conditions of these WECs have already been characterized for the whole country and possible ways for the integration of these devices to the electrical network are being investigated.

 


TECHNOLOGY DEMONSTRATION


OPEN SEA TEST SITES

CEMIE-Oceano continues to conduct studies and acquire oceanographic measuring equipment to establish two natural sites for testing wave energy devices in Ensenada, Baja California, and ocean current energy devices in the Cozumel Canal, Quintana Roo under natural conditions.


PLANNED DEPLOYMENTS
Projects being developed, to be installed in the sea by CEMIE-Oceano:

  • Wave energy device – Sauzal Port, Baja California;
  • OTEC – Acapulco, Guerrero;
  • Wave energy device, Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan.

 


RELEVANT NATIONAL EVENTS


Workshops organized by CEMIE-Oceano:

Workshop on the environmental impact of electric energy generating devices in the sea
Mexico City (CEMIE-Oceano), 25-26 May 2017
Course-Workshop on Ocean Thermal Gradient Energy
Mexico City (CEMIE-Oceano), 30 August to 1 September 2017
DEMEX – Mexico International Renewable Energy Conference, MEXIREC 2017
Mexico City (Ministry of Energy), 11-13 September 2017
Course-workshop on salt energy gradients
Yucatán, Mexico (CEMIE-Oceano), 2-3 November 2017
Bilateral meeting University of Edinburgh - CEMIE-Oceano
Mexico City (CEMIE-Oceano), 21 November 2017


Conferences organized by CEMIE-Oceano:

Marine current energy (30 March 2017)
Stephanie E. Ordoñez Sánchez, University of Strathclyde, UK
Use of salt gradient energy in river mouths (22 May 2017)
Oscar Álvarez Silva, Universidad del Norte, Colombia
Challenges for marine renewable energy implementation (24 May 2017)
Teresa Simas, WavEC, Portugal
Challenges for ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) in Japan (30 August 2017)
Yasuyuki Ikegami, Saga University, Japan
Technical readiness of OTEC to achieve sustainable development goals (31 August 2017)
Hyeon-Ju Kim, Korea Research Institute of Ships & Ocean Engineering (KRISO)
Marine Renewable Energy (1 September 2017)
Luis A. Vega, University of Hawaii, USA
 

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Workshop on OTEC, 1 September 2017

 

MARINE SPATIAL PLANNING POLICY
Although there is not a clear Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) policy, there are legal instruments to the matters related to the sea.

The existing legal instruments are the following:

• The Mexican Constitution – it points out that individuals and private Mexican companies would be able to use or exploit these resources only through concessions given by the National Executive;
• General Law of National Assets – it regulates all the aspects of the assets that constitute the Nation’s patrimony. It designates marine assets as assets of common use and points out that the special exploitation of them requires a concession, an authorization or permission given in accordance with the conditions and requirements of every corresponding law;
• Federal Law of the Sea – this law is of federal jurisdiction and regulates the marine zones that are part of the national territory;
• Marine Sector Programme 2013-2018 – it specifies the objectives, priorities and policies consistent with the National Plan of Development referring to sea issues;
• Law of National Waters – it regulates the use, utilization or exploitation of national waters, as well as the distribution, use and preservation of its quantity and quality in order to achieve integral sustainable development of them;
• Law on the Use of Renewable Energy and Energy Transition Financing (LAERFTE) – it regulates the renewable energies and clean technologies harnessing to generate electricity with private purposes. Likewise, it stablishes the national strategy for energy transition funding;
• General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection – it refers to the preservation and restoration of the ecological balance as well as the environmental protection in the national territory and in the zones where the Nation exerts its sovereignty.

Pre-selected areas for ocean energy have not been defined. However some areas have been identified with ocean potential in the national territory. The Secretariat of Energy (SENER) provides this information though the National Inventory of Renewable Energies.

AUTHORITIES INVOLVED
According to the actual legal framework of the marine and energy sectors, the authorities that have the faculty to be involved in the licensing process are:

• Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) – is in charge of promoting the sustainable use and exploitation of the federal marine-terrestrial zone and the sea-lands. It is the governmental authority that has the faculty to give or deny the concessions for the economic utilization of these resources;
• Secretariat of Energy (SENER) – is in charge of the national energy policy;
• National Commission of the Efficient Use of Energy (CONUEE) – is in the technical authority that promotes the energy efficiency and the sustainable use of energy;
• Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) – is the electricity and hydrocarbons regulator. This governmental entity has the faculty to give or deny permissions to generate electricity;
• Federal Commission of Energy (CFE) – is the government entity that is authorized to generate, conduct, transform, distribute and supply electricity for public service along the national territory;
• National Commission of Water (CONAGUA) – establishes the payment of fees for exploiting the federal waters. Every concessioner has the obligation to pay an established amount in order to ensure its permission to take advantage of the resources;
• Secretariat of Communications and Transport (SCT) – is in charge of supplying safe, efficient and competitive systems of communications and transport.

CONSENTING PROCESS
Due to the fact that marine energy technologies have not been developed in Mexico, there is not a specific process that includes licenses, consents or permits to get permission for project deployment.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT
An EIA is assessed on a case-by-case basis. The entity responsible for the decision on whether an EIA is required or not is the SEMARNAT, according to the General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection.

There are three cases in Mexico in which the government, through the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources, requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), depending on the control it has on the environmental impacts and the size of the site where the project is planned to be developed, in order to authorize the resources exploitation. The cases are the following: i) preventive report; ii) EIA, particular mode; iii) EIA, regional mode.

The Preventive Report occurs when the activities or works are part of an Urban Development Plan or an Ecological Planning Program previously approved by SEMANART. The EIA particular mode or regional mode are developed when particulars want to carry out some of the activities described in the Article 28th of the General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection.

It can be inferred from the Mexican Environmental Policy that every Company, Research Center or High Education Institute, who wants to deploy a device in the ocean with the purpose of generating electricity, would have to submit an EIA before deploying it in order to get permission to continue.

LEGISLATION AND REGULATION
Due to the fact that ocean energy is a renewable energy that has not been developed in Mexico, there is not a specific law to regulate it.

Although Mexico has just experimented a relevant change in its energy sector due to the new legislation approved and promulgated on August 11th, 2014, it does not include any regulation oriented to ocean energy and there are no plans, until now, to elaborate such regulation.

In case some private companies, research centers or universities want to start a project to develop one of the ocean energy technologies, they will have to look over the following legal framework:

• Article 27th of the Mexican Constitution;
• General Law of National Assets;
• Federal Law of the Sea;
• Law of Ports;
• Law on the Use of Renewable Energy and Energy Transition Financing (LAERFTE);
• Law of the Electrical Industry;
• Law of Public Service of Electrical Power (LSPEE);
• Law of National Waters;
• General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection (LGEEPA);
• Ecological Planning Program, that corresponds to the site where the project will be developed;
• Local regulations according to the selected site.

Although these legal instruments mention the opportunity of harnessing ocean energy, as well as the actors that should intervene in the process, they do not serve as a guide to be followed by developers.

CONSULTATION
In general, consultation is a legal requirement. The Federal Law of Public Consultation establishes, regulates and protects the Mexican citizens’ right to give their opinion about a matter of national importance.

Regarding an ocean energy project, according to the General Law of Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection, the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources will make public the project in the Ecological Gazette when the EIA is submitted.

The Mexican government, in compliance with the Convention No.169 about Indigenous Tribal People, has the obligation to consult Indigenous people.

The National Commission for the Development of Indigenous People is the authority responsible of the consultation process in accordance with the Implementation of Indigenous People and Communities Consultation Protocol. Indigenous opinions against any project can represent a delaying factor or a relevant interruption for the course of the project.

There are informal consultation activities implemented during the license process of other renewable energy projects.