MEXICO CITY -- It is a good time to be in the renewable energy business in Mexico since landmark energy reform opened up the electricity market and prioritized renewables. The government has an ambitious 12-year goal for renewable energy production, and private equity funds and development banks have millions of dollars ready to allocate to clean energy.
“There is a huge potential for exploiting renewable energy in Mexico,” says Guillermo Gutierrez of BK Partners, an investment management firm. “We believe this is an exciting moment.”
Mexico has set the goal to generate 35 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2024, including large hydroelectric generators. In 2012, only 4 percent of electricity was generated from wind, solar and geothermal sources.
The government expects enormous increases in solar and wind power capacity for 2018 — solar will increase from 54.6 MW in 2012 to 627.5 MW in 2018, while wind will reach 8,922 MW from its current 1,332 MW in the same period.
Gutierrez manages the Balam Fund, a private equity fund dedicated to investing in renewable energy projects in Mexico. The fund currently has $160 million, and a $400 million target. So far, it has identified 30 possible projects within the areas of wind, solar, hydropower and cogeneration.
“Last year it was complicated for us because when we started the fund, there was an impasse within the industry, projects were not moving” as the energy reform was debated and passed, Gutierrez says. Now, there are six projects in advanced negotiations that total 254 MW. “We believe we can close these projects in the next two months,” he says.
The New Energy Laws
The much-awaited energy laws are now being reviewed by Mexico’s congress, and analysts expect them to pass by June 2014. The laws will open up the previously restricted electricity market, monopolized by state utility company CFE, making it easier for private companies to build and operate power plants. The law also...
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