Member of the month: Smart Grid Mexico

As of the publication of the Energy Reform in December 2013, a series of changes in the traditional conception of the energy system in Mexico started. Of particular importance for the electricity sector: in August 2014 the Law of the Electricity Industry was published. This Law sets up a new regulatory framework, opening to competition the activities of generation and supply of electricity. Since then there have been important events in order to implement the Wholesale Electricity Market. This situation is quickly transforming the electrical industry and also accelerating its modernization.

In this context, accompanying the energy reform laws issued, in August 2014, the civil association Smart Grid Mexico was founded.

Smart Grid Mexico (SGM) is a non-governmental organization whose purpose is to promote the development and implementation of technological solutions that increase the efficiency of energy sector in Mexico, by integrating a collaboration and exchange community to promote the development of Smart Grids in Mexico, facing the new economic, social and environmental challenges and opportunities.

SGM’s Main Goals are to link together research and education institutions with industry in order to encourage and lead research and development activities, as well as educational programs about Smart Grids in Mexican context and needs; and, link together public and private institutions in order to allow the harmonic growth of Smart Grid’s solutions in Mexico preserving the public interest.

Since 2014, SGM has been working to fulfill the goals with which it was created. Today, SGM has established itself as the multi-stakeholder association in the Mexican electric industry that aims to develop the smart grid. The main factors that have contributed to this consolidation are:

  • While it is true that CFE has invested in technologies that have modernized its operation for a long time. Before 2010, Smart Grid concepts had a few impacts in Mexico, year when the Smart Grid Maturity Model was applied. Although, what has developed the Mexican Smart Grid have been last CFE’s AMI investments, since 2014 up to today. It has deployed a new and important Smart Grid market. A significant number of companies participating in this market are members or are in some way linked to SGM.
  • SGM has been careful to keep its plural character, including academia and industry, and alignment with public policy and government regulation. In the international level SGM is member of the Global Smart Grid Federation (GSGF), fundamental support to understand and synthesize international experiences and practices that Mexico can take advantage of in its particular development of Smart Grids.
  • The Mexican government invitation to participate in the Smart Grid Advisory Committee, chaired by the Energy Ministry. SGM participates as representative of the private sector. The main activity of this committee has been the development and publication of the National Smart Grid Program.
  • In its work as the academy-industry link, as a result, SGM was invited to be the Commercial Director of the CEMIE for Smart Grid, an energy innovation center supported with federally funds. Its goal is to develop of 22 smart grid projects working with 18 universities and research centers and a total of 180 researchers will be involved. The SGM’s responsibility is to link companies in order to ensure that results will be assimilated in the Mexican electricity system. Another important activity with the academy is the first Smart Grid certification program, launched in collaboration with the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

LATAM Smart Community Alliance, as an SGM initiative

Since the founding of SGM, its founders have expressed concern not only for the development of Smart Grids in Mexico but also throughout the Latin American region. This intention was shared in several GSGF’s meetings, becoming a joint initiative.

With the propose to know the structure and characteristics of the electricity industry in the Latin American region and explore the possibility to establish a new association with regional coverage, several trips were made to Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, Panama, Ecuador, Bolivia and the Dominican Republic.

Much interest has been found in stakeholders. However, with the exception perhaps of Colombia, there are no organizations like Smart Grid Mexico throughout the region, i.e. focused on the smart grid and with a plural character.

During those trips I, in addition to studying the structure of the industry and identifying the possibilities to encourage the Smart Grid development locally, established contact with many decision-makers in local electricity industries, from the government, academy and private sides.

The LATAM Smart Community Alliance was founded in Mexico City on August 3, 2016 with a starting members group from Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Brazil, mainly companies operating in regional level. Then LATAM SCA goals are:

Encourage and foster the establishment of national local associations. After that integrate them as members in LATAM SCA and GSGF.

  • Integrate as members also companies with regional operations and interests and help them to coordinate its local activities.
  • Integrate as honorary members regional decision makers and opinion leaders
  • Develop a Market Insight for the whole region
  • Connect local efforts with regional and global goals
  • Identify, synthesize and propose global best practice and solutions, being careful of the regional context.

A first meeting of members was held on November 25, 2016, with more than 60 participants from 12 countries in the region.

Although progress has been done, there is undoubtedly much work must be done. SGM and LATAM SCA have and will have an important role in the energy sector transformation and modernization around the region.

We are convinced that the best way to encourage Smart Grids is by making intelligent collaborative human networks.