Mexico and El Salvador: Energy expertise made in Germany

Making the most of wind and solar power is possible thanks to accurate weather forecasts. A German company is providing the expertise required.

Use of renewable energy is growing rapidly in Mexico and Central America. In Mexico, wind farms’ installed capacity has tripled since 2017, while power generated from solar energy has increased 20-fold. This is a new challenge for grid operators, because wind and solar power output fluctuates depending on the weather. Accurate information is needed about how much wind and solar power are expected to be fed into the grid to ensure efficient integration of these renewables.

Enter the cooperation arrangement between the Oldenburg-based energy & meteo systems GmbH and two grid operators in Mexico and El Salvador. The German company develops systems that make it possible to reliably forecast solar and wind power generation. In a project under the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (BMZ) develoPPP programme, plant manufacturers, grid operators, electricity traders and representatives of energy ministries and regulatory authorities were introduced to the basic technology involved in forecasting power output. Then, over a one-year period, energy & meteo systems delivered forecasts for selected wind and solar farms. This experience has convinced the project partners in both Mexico and El Salvador of the benefits of forecasting to ensure reliable grid operations. In future, they intend to rely on forecasting systems and have taken the first steps in this direction.

The develoPPP.de programme fosters commercial initiatives that also bring development benefits. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH supports these development partnerships. In this case, we organised dialogue with local partners and held workshops for some 120 representatives of the local energy sector.

Dr Matthias Lange, Managing Director of energy & meteo systems GmbH, is extremely satisfied with the project results. ‘With GIZ’s support we won the trust of partners and established a broad network in Central America and Mexico. We have learned a great deal about the electricity markets and have been able to contribute expertise in the field of forecasting wind and solar energy outputs gained from the German and global power transition.’

After the successful conclusion of the project in early 2019, the company has continued its engagement in Latin America and is already involved in a new develoPPP.de project with GIZ. Solar and wind farms are to be networked to make a ‘virtual power plant’ in Argentina, enabling the grid operator to monitor the feed-in of solar and wind power in real time, and make any necessary corrections from a distance.

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