In this part of our series Co-benefits Stories, Fernando Ramones, who works at the Iniciativa Climática de México (ICM), tells how the deployment of renewables improved living conditions in regional communities. For this series, we have asked energy professionals that have participated in our trainings for their thoughts and experiences on co-benefits of renewable energy in their country.
“I am very thankful for this assignment because currently, I work at the Iniciativa Climática de México, an NGO dedicated to the discussed topic.
One subnational solution that has been developed here at ICM is the concept of the Ejido Solar. “Ejidos” in Mexico is a particular land-sharing property figure created at the beginning of the 20th century, after the Mexican Revolution. The main premise is to help the Ejidos to create additional value with the help of distributed solar generation. This property regime resembles a cooperative scheme, combining small land plots for individuals and devoting a portion of the property for community use. In some regions of Mexico, these Ejidos have the opportunity to use the extra land not used for the production of crops, approximately one hectare, to deploy around 499 KW installed capacity of distributed solar generation. The reason behind this capacity is that, based on the current legal framework, if you are bound by that amount, you don’t need the extra bureaucracy necessary for the proper power plant generators.
For a subnational entity the proposed mechanism is to convert itself into a qualified user and in that manner buy the electricity generated by the Ejido Solar. This causes a virtuous effect, promoting the development of these regions and the deployment of renewable energy in the form of distributed solar generation. This action produces several socioeconomic benefits: an increase of jobs in the Ejido and an increase in the technical capabilities of the people that live in the Ejido, which regularly are isolated from the economic policies of the country. To see the potential of this policy: currently, 32,000 Ejidos exist in Mexico according to the National Agrarian Registry.”
Based on insights of the COBENEFITS research group, the Renewables Academy (RENAC) currently conducts trainings in Turkey, Kenya, South Africa and Mexico. Participants learn about co-benefits of renewable energy in climate change mitigation, tools to quantify and communicate social and economic opportunities and policies and instruments to mobilise them.