On May 15, 2020 the Ministry of Energy (“SENER”) published the “Official Communication that issues the Policy on Reliability, Safety, Continuity and Quality of the National Electrical System” (the “Official Communication”)(1), which entered into force on May 16, 2020.
The purpose of the Official Communication is to issue a reliability policy for a rational and comprehensive planning and operation of National Electrical System (“SEN”), in line with certain national objectives, which include the following:
a) a sovereign energy transition and orderly integration of clean energy and distributed generation;
b) establish an enhanced process for the granting of generation permits and power plant interconnection contracts that takes into account the planning of the SEN and the reliability policy; and
c) strengthen the strategic planning of Comisión Federal de Electricidad and its state-owned productive companies, affiliates and subsidiaries.
To that end, the Official Communication broadens the authority of SENER, the Energy Regulatory Commission (“CRE”) and the National Energy Control Center (“CENACE”) to decide on matters related to the reliability, safety, continuity and quality of the SEN and to issue provisions to establish, among others, the following:
- With respect to matters related to the granting of generation permits, CRE must consider the information contained in the programs for the expansion and modernization of the general transmission and distribution networks, the Program for the Development of the National Electric System (“PRODESEN”) and the relevant interconnection feasibility study issued by CENACE related to reliability. Also, the new provisions would need to include new requirements to interconnection applications and new events of early termination in respect of generation permits and interconnection contracts.
- SENER may define the development and implementation of certain power plants as strategic projects to comply with the national energy policy, which would have priority in terms of interconnection.
- Energy generation and commercialization services will continue to be provided on the basis of fair and open competition, but without prejudice to the objective of strengthening and sovereign role of the Mexican State in electricity matters.
- Dispatch safety should have priority over economic efficiency when CENACE determines the allocation and dispatch of power plants.
- Provision of new ancillary services, for which CENACE may instruct the allocation and dispatch of out of merit power plants for the provision of ancillary services required to ensure SEN reliability.
- CENACE may reject applications for the interconnection of wind or photovoltaic power plants, on the basis of criteria having regard to sufficiency, dispatch safety and economic efficiency, when these are located in congested interconnection points, regions or systems, where there is insufficient generation to compensate for intermittency and achieve frequency and voltage control and reliability and selectivity of protection schemes.