A vague reference in an initial auction report led Greentech Media (and The Energy Mix in turn) to declare a world-record low price bid for utility-scale solar photovoltaic power in Mexico last week. The price of 1.77¢ (US$) per kWh was correctly reported, but the technology was wind, not solar, prompting both the company involved and GTM to issue corrections over the weekend.
Preliminary results announced by Mexico’s National Energy Control Center (Centro Nacional de Control de Energía, CENACE in Spanish) indicated that four bids by international energy developer Enel had been accepted, and gave the prices bid, but did not specify the technologies.
Analysts quickly suspected the figures provided for clean energy certificates associated with the bids “didn’t make sense for solar,” GTM observed in its correction. “Further confirmation came with the publication of detailed information from CENACE and a press release from Enel.”
1.77¢ per kWh is no longer an especially stunning price for wind generation, which hit prices as low as 0.85¢ for onshore turbines last year, according to The Independent. EcoWatch reports that offshore wind has been coming in even lower, down to 0.54¢ per kWh.
Enel’s four winning wind bids envision a total capacity of 593 megawatts. “Enel will be investing US$700 million in Mexico to help complete the plants,” GTM adds, “which are expected to enter operation in the first half of 2020.”
Enel also plans to put all of its renewable energy projects—which in addition to the four wind projects include 53 megawatts of hydro in Mexico, with 992 megawatts of solar in its pipeline—into “a special-purpose vehicle that will be 80% owned by the Caisse de dépot et placement du Québec and the Mexican pension fund CKD Infraestructura México,” GTM notes.
The lowest price achieved by solar in the Mexican auction was actually 1.97¢ per kWh—not quite 1.77¢, but still a none-too-shabby new record for Latin America.
Honours for the world’s cheapest solar still belong to Abu Dhabi developer Masdar, with a bid of 1.79¢ per kWh for 300 megawatts of supply in Saudi Arabia that earned widespread skepticism from industry media.