Mexico first power auction awards 1,750 MW to wind, solar firms

Mexico is seeking to add 20 gigawatts of clean energy in the next 15 years.
Mexico is seeking to add 20 gigawatts of clean energy in the next 15 years.

By Vanessa Dezem  and Adam Williams / Bloomberg

Renewable energy developers won contracts to produce 1,720 megawatts of power in Mexico during the country’s first-ever private auction after the government ended a decades-long state electricity monopoly in 2013.

Seven wind and solar companies including Enel Green Power, SunPower Systems Mexico and Recurrent Energy won 15-year contracts to rights to provide the state-owned Comision Federal de Electricidad with power beginning in 2018, Cesar Emiliano Hernandez, Mexico’s deputy electricity minister, said in Mexico City.

The contracts are expected to generate more than $2.1 billion in investment by 2018, he said.

“The results were better than some of the most successful auctions in the world,” Hernandez said in a press conference in Mexico City. “Many top level international companies competed and Mexico will receive a very important amount of investment.”

Mexico is restructuring its energy markets in an effort to spur billions in investment after a historic overhaul approved in 2013 to open state-run monopolies in the oil and electricity industries. The government has set a goal of getting 35 percent of its energy from clean sources by 2024, up from 25 percent now.

OHL Mexico fined $3.5 million over accounting practices

The investigation focused on a major toll road OHL operates outside Mexico City.
The investigation focused on a major toll road OHL operates outside Mexico City.

By Santiago Perez / Wall Street Journal

Mexico’s financial watchdog slapped close to $3.5 million in fines on toll-road operator OHL Mexico and two of its units over accounting practices that boosted its income and asset valuations.

OHL Mexico, a unit of Spain’s Obrascón Huarte Lain, said in a news release Monday that Mexico’s Banking and Securities Commission also ordered it to submit a restatement proposal as part of its probe into the company’s alleged accounting irregularities.

The investigation focused on OHL’s claim that its contract with the State of Mexico for a major toll road it operates outside Mexico City allows the company to earn a guaranteed 10 percent annual profit above inflation via toll increases and other measures.

OHL has said the state is liable for the guaranteed profit even if OHL doesn’t recover those funds during the life of the contract, an interpretation that Mexico’s financial watchdog disputes.

U.S. extends “dolphin safe” rules in bid to end Mexico trade dispute

Instead of loosening the rules on Mexico, NOAA opted to raise the standards for all other countries.
Instead of loosening the rules on Mexico, NOAA opted to raise the standards for all other countries.

By Neil Ramsden / Undercurrent News

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has extended its rules labeling Mexican tuna imports as “dolphin-safe” to cover the rest of the world, in a bid to end its trade dispute with Mexico.

On March 22, NOAA Fisheries filed an interim final rule to implement regulations under the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act (DPCIA), to enhance the requirements for documentation and captain training to support labels on tuna products that represent the product as “dolphin safe.”

“NOAA Fisheries considers the DPCIA and the dolphin-safe labeling effort to be a valuable management and conservation tool in reducing tuna fishing-related death and serious injury to dolphins,” it said.

The interim final rule is intended to strengthen the regulatory framework by which the DPCIA is implemented, and to ensure that the United States satisfies its obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the body added.

This week, it was revealed that Mexico is planning to request authorization from the WTO to impose $472 million in sanctions against the US.

2 climbers fall to deaths on one of Mexico’s highest peaks

AP – The Red Cross in Mexico says it is bringing down the bodies of two climbers who died in a fall at the Nevado de Toluca volcano. Three other climbers reported that they saw the two men fall about 1,000 feet to their deaths. A search team reached the spot late Sunday and confirmed the deaths, but recovery efforts were delayed because of bad weather.

Group announces contest to design a Trump border wall

Border wallBlouinart – A US design collective Third Mind Foundation has announced an international competition to design a wall on the border between the US and Mexico, in response to presidential candidate Donald Trump’s promise to build a wall along the border.

Teen driving ammo load to Mexico nabbed at border

Nogales International – A Mexican teenager was busted at a local port of entry while trying to drive into Mexico with 5,560 rounds of ammunition. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers were performing outbound inspections at an unspecified Nogales port when they referred an 18-year-old Mexican male for a secondary inspection of his GMC SUV. During the search, officers found the assorted ammunition hidden throughout the vehicle.