In this part of our series Co-benefits Stories, Sandra Villalba explains how renewables can improve the quality of life for the people in the Mexican state Sonora. 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.
“In the Sonoran State, the need to transition from traditional power system planning to a sustainable power system is an urgent need since the climatic zone we live in is a desertic region with critical high temperatures that make the need of air conditioning systems and mobile transportation systems a necessity. These climatic particularities result in a 1.6 times higher energy consumption in comparison to an average Mexican citizen with different climatic conditions. Also, Sonora’s energy consumption is 94% dependent on fossil fuels which are imported from foreign countries showing the lack of independency from its own energy production system.
Innovation in the power system towards sustainable and independent energy production is an important topic with important multi-criteria advantages and benefits. In Sonora, studies show that 75% of the total energy needs may be provided by solar production, which may give the state important co-benefits such as a better capacity of energy generation, energy independence, more variety in the alternatives of energy for the region, generation of green jobs, energy for more users, reserve planning and capacity for future projects, as well as a better quality of life for citizens and less health impacts due to less particulate matter in the air.”
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.