SUPPORTING POLICIES FOR OCEAN ENERGY
Mexico has experimented relevant policy changes during this year lined up with its interest in building a sustainable future. The most important of these changes is the Energy Reform which was approved by the Congress in December 2013 and whose legal framework was promulgated on 11 August 2014. These new laws have fully opened the power sector to a free electricity market by letting private companies participate in the generation, transmission and distribution stages, making the energy industry more competitive, efficient and inclusive.
The Energy Reform also emphasizes a major inclusion of renewable energies in the electricity generation. Prove of this is the recently published Law of Geothermal Energy, and the Law of Electrical Industry which replaces the old Law of the Public Service of Electrical Energy and lays the foundations for a more sustainable industry through the acquisition of Clean Energy Certificates.
Therefore, the country has been building the accurate environment for a complete sustainable energy transition in which clean technologies like those of ocean energy will be crucial for achieving such an ambitious goal.
Although Mexico has not a specific national strategy for developing ocean energy, it has several dispositions for developing renewable energies as part of a green energy policy integrated by the National Strategy of Energy 2013- 2027, which is a legal instrument that sets out the challenges for the energy sector and establishes the further actions to address them; the National Strategy for Energy Transition and Sustainable Use of Energy 2013, which is the mechanism that encourages and promotes the use of non-fossil energy sources; the Use of Renewable Energies Special Programme 2014-2018 and the Climate Change Special Programme 2014-2018.
The 10th Strategic Topic of the first governmental mechanisms mentioned before stresses the need of diversifying the energetic matrix with the purpose of reaching the 35% of the total electrical generation by 2024 with clean energy sources; a national goal that has been established in the Law of the Use of Renewable Energies and Energy Transition Funding since its promulgation in 2008 by determining a maximum participation of fossil fuels of the 65% and reinforced in the 3rd transitional article of the General Law of Climate Change promulgated in 2012.
Likewise, the other documents set out the targets, guidelines and actions to boost and optimize the Mexican energy sector by disseminating the advantages of clean energy sources and encouraging public and private projects with the objective of developing a clean technology, in order to harness these resources and contribute to the Nation’s sustainable development.
There is not a specific regulation for ocean energy currently in Mexico. However, there is a law applicable to all renewable energies, the Law of Energy Transition. This law regulates the renewable energies and clean technologies harnessing to generate electricity with private purposes. Likewise, it establishes the national strategy for energy transition funding.
The new regulation that was promulgated on 11 August 2014 as a result of the Energy Reform has set up a new incentive called Clean Energy Certificates (CELs).
These certificates will be granted by the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) and will be given to those producers that generate electricity from clean energy sources. The owners of the certificates will be able to negotiate and commercialize them as a commodity in order to potentiate its benefits. Since this is a new initiative, the operation rules have not been established, however this regulation is expected to be promulgated during the first three months of next year.
The Clean Energy Certificates were lay down by the Mexican Government as a mechanism of control and promotion of the renewables industry growth. Therefore, ocean energy developers will be suitable candidates to receive CELs because of the great potential of the Mexican territory that can be harnessed and the particular advantages of this resource.
PUBLIC FUNDING PROGRAMMES
There are three major funding sources in Mexico created to support and promote the development of renewable energies and energy efficiency projects carried on by higher education institutions, research centres and private companies with technological basis in order to encourage interesting synergies between the academy and the industry for the Nation’s development and economic growth.
Energy Sustainability Fund (Fondo Sectorial Conacyt- Secretaría de Energía-Sustentabilidad Energética)
Authority: Secretariat of Energy (SENER) and National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT)
Programme: There are several programmes with different purposes derived from this fund. The most significant are:
This fund was created to solve the main problem areas of the energy sector and to boost the scientific research as well as the technological development of energy sustainability. Therefore, it offers public mechanisms to encourage the academia and the industry to present proposals whose objectives match with the purpose of the fund. In this sense, in September 2014, the CONACYT and SENER made a call to research centres, higher education institutions and private companies interested in developing ocean energy technologies to integrate a consortium and form the Mexican Innovation Centre in Ocean Energy (CEMIE Oceano).
Fund: Energy Transition and its Sustainable Use Fund (Fondo para la Transición Energética y el
Aprovechamiento Sustentable de la Energía FOTEASE)
Authority: Secretariat of Energy (SENER)
Program: There are not public calls to present proposals. The technical committee of the fund is the one who decides how to distribute the financial resources. This fund was created because of the 27th article of the Law of the Use of Renewable Energies and Energy Transition Funding with the purpose of financing integral projects that impact the energy sector and promote continuous income to renew the financial resources established for the fund. The recent Law of Energy Transition also includes the usage of the different energy sector funds to support and promote the development of clean energies.
Permitting and Licensing Process for ocean energy projects
To complement the regulatory framework to the granting of permits for projects that harness ocean energy to generate power, in October 2015 a study started with the aim to provide the basis for the projects that are being tested can access a permit and can generate energy; the study is expected to be completed in March 2016.