The sun and the wind power the state of Sonora Sonora has a great potential to develop renewable energies and contribute to the sustainability and integral development that is taking place worldwide. To achieve this goal, Sonora has a vision of becoming the leader in natural inputs by developing the Renewable Energies Integral Development Plan.
The areas of opportunity are based on the availability and utilization, in an efficient way, of the State’s most common natural resources including solar radiation and the wind. Solar radiation, for instance, is highly concentrated in Sonora, and has a range of 6 to 8 kWh (kilowatts/hour) per square meter.
The State’s windiest zones have their highest points, over 8m/s, in northeastern Sonora, as well as in the area of the Gulf of California where wind velocity is considered optimal for offshore developments.
The potential, in terms of renewable energies in Sonora, is not limited to just natural resources; the State also features an excellent industrial capacity. At this time, the State proposes the exploitation of the supply chain for the Automotive, Aeronautical, Electronics and Metal Mechanic industries, all related to equipment manufacturing for this new sector.
Sonora has a great potential for the development of renewable energies thanks to its geographic location. The renewable markets of North America are rich and San Luis Rio Colorado represents an important strategic access point for the California market.
The State plans to become a national and an international leader heading up research, development and the manufacture of equipment for the upcoming generation of clean energies.
Sonora plans to build a receptive field of technology with speci fic areas that contains all the technical requirements connected to the net and the inputs needed for production. This comes with the objective of attracting and inviting cutting-edge technologies and their investors to produce, develop and establish their own unique prototypes.
No other State in Mexico offers such optimal and effective radiation. This allows the technologies, like photovoltaic or thermo solar, to be much more efficient in this State than in other zones in the Mexican Republic. We are talking about levels superior to 30 to 45 percent of more efficiency, according to experts in the State Government, compared to northeastern and central Mexico.
Exhibit #1 explains Sonora’s Solar Potential and Exhibit #2 projects wind power potential for the State.
There are also other natural sources directed to the sustainable development of Sonora. There is, for example, the planting and processing of halophyte plants in Sonora’s desert zones. When irrigated with seawater they can produce Bio-energy as well as facilitate the exploitation of Biomass that comes from a given agricultural harvest.
There is also the Biogas obtained from animal and vegetal waste. When all this is put together with the previously mentioned ideas it becomes a dynamic investment plan for this sector.
For the first time the federal legal frame and the incentives for the development of renewable energies in Sonora allow for the generation of new niches for investment opportunities.
Solar radiation and the optimal wind alone cannot, by themselves, be integrated into a production system and also into a support development plan for renewable energies.
Sonora was the first State to foster their own legislation regarding development and support for Renewable Energies.
The new laws allow the State of Sonora and Mexico, in a private way, to make investments in Renewable Energies.
The main incentive is enlisted in Article 40 of Section XII.
This is focused on the Income Tax Law contemplating the fiscal reduction of investments in equipment, installations and freight related to the use and application of renewable energies during the first year of the investment. This incentive applies when the equipment and production structure have continued working for a minimal period of five years.
The correct application of the Federal support is derived from the Article previously mentioned and is a generator of utilities for companies in the private sector with high energy consumption rates in Sonora.
This provision, added to new modifications in the Energy Regulatory Commission Law, defines and gives approval for new contracts for interconnection of renewable energy sources with the Federal Commission of Energy (CFE).
This makes it more attractive for investment and generates new market niches for users in the photovoltaic and thermo solar sectors.
The State of Sonora also promotes, according to the specific needs of a given potential investor’s business plan, diverse credits for specific items needed to support increases in the installed capacity. Also, the Government will support with training and will also provide discounts in salary taxes.
The support program is “tailor made” for each project. The objective of the Government is to attract investment that totals 40MW of power over a term of five years to be applied to projects of energy self-sufficiency either in private or public sectors.
In Sonora there are private companies that exist with portfolios that obligate them to have a minimum of 10% in green energy consumption. This volume is also contemplated in the 40MW objective and will be generated by diverse technologies such as photovoltaic and solar concentration.
Regarding wind technologies in Sonora, the wind velocity measurements will support the objective of attracting investments by the year 2012.
In order to achieve this, the State Government will create the Technology Park host and offer their services in order to make the arrival of investments more attractive.
Other investments being contemplated include the ones by the CFE and the Secretary of Energy. They are working together with the State Government to secure investments in Puerto Libertad and Agua Prieta. This is where important thermo solar component cylindrical parabolic concentrators with a capacity of 20MW are found.
Among other important projects in Sonora is the development of the National Lab for Solar and Chemical Concentration Systems being carried out by the University of Sonora (UNISON).
It is the central piece in promotion of national and international collaboration for the future of solar energy.
In summary, the University of Sonora along with the National University of Mexico (UNAM), the Federal and State Governments are supporting the development of renewable energies.
Together they are investing in a research center and thermo solar development of a Tower of Power (with heliostats). The objective is to create quality professionals able to provide technical / technological links with the state government and industry.
We are able to say, in conclusion, that renewable energies are much friendlier with the environment than conventional technologies that depend solely on fossil fuel. In a significant way fossil fuel contributes to many of the environmental problems that we face today, including problems such as the greenhouse effect, wide-spread air pollution and the deterioration of the water and land everywhere. Being conscious of the implications, the Government of Sonora has determinated that the Renewable Energies Sector is a strategic point for promotion, not only for economic development, but also for the sustainable development needed in this era.