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Accelerating Municipal Building Efficiency, Mexico City

Pablo Izaga Gonzalez

Pablo Izaga (MDes 2019) traveled to Mexico City through the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies January 2018 “Winternship” program. During this trip, Izaga worked with the Ministry of the Environment of Mexico City (SEDEMA) to develop a proposal to participate in the C40 ‘Accelerating Municipal Building Efficiency’ Technical Assistance Programme 2018. The proposal aims to advance the transition to a “clean electricity” scenario in Mexico City.

Below is an extract from the proposal. 


Derived from several regulations established in the National Development Plan 2013-2018, the Energy Transition Law, as well as the Special Climate Change Programs 2014-2018, the Development of the National Electric System 2016-2030, and the General Administrative Regulations in the matter of Distributed Generation or GD (Generación Distribuida), renewable energy technologies can currently be installed in homes and businesses through an interconnection contract with Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE, the main electric utility in the country). The generators that sign the interconnection contract may sell the surplus of the total of the energy through a Basic Services Provider and must adhere to the methodology of consideration of net energy measurement in any of the following options: Net Metering, Net Billing, or total sale of energy.

Although the current regulatory framework allows the installation of renewable energy systems, it is not always profitable for the property owners. In the case of residential properties, a preliminary study shows that only the users with high consumption rates would find this action profitable. High Consumption Domestic Rate (DAC) is applied to those users who consume more than 3000 kWh per year or 500 kWh every two months, and the electricity is charged at a high cost due to lack of government subsidies.

The project “Clean Electricity in CMDX” aims to develop strategies that make feasible the installation of renewable energy in as many buildings as possible and provide the property owners the necessary tools to do so.

The project is composed of the following stages:

1. Development of strategies to make renewable energy projects feasible and profitable

The first stage is to identify the financial, regulatory, and technological obstacles that make renewable energy projects not profitable currently and develop strategies to make it profitable and feasible in as many buildings as possible.

2. Development of a methodological framework or information tool to identify profitable clean electricity generation projects

With this methodology, SEDEMA will be able to identify buildings where the installation of renewable energy systems is both feasible and profitable. This methodology will be applicable, not only to properties in Mexico City, but to all properties throughout the country, since the market conditions are the same for the entire national territory.

3. Create an open map database of potential opportunities

Following the cases of other cities like London or Amsterdam, we aim to develop Digital Open Data Maps of the city that will provide citizens information (and other tools) about potential energy efficiency and generation potential of their properties. The project aims to map all buildings throughout the city.

4. Carry out a pilot project

In 2017, SEDEMA implemented energy efficiency actions in 4 municipal buildings, which helped reduce their energy consumption. One of these buildings could be used to install renewable energy systems (photovoltaic systems) as a pilot project. A technical annex with installation specifications will be developed and used as a reference for implementing these systems in other buildings.

5. Implement citywide

The first renewable energy systems would be installed in municipal buildings. Delivering municipal building efficiency and distributed generation projects can contribute to spreading these strategies in other sectors (commercial, industry, private residential). Furthermore, start with municipal properties can help create a market for energy efficiency solutions (such as new technologies or local providers). Among all the municipal buildings, the first ones to be intervened would be those that have adopted Energy Efficiency actions, so that their systems are not oversized.