Case study Sonora: better quality of life, green jobs and energy independence

San­dra Vil­lal­ba par­tic­i­pant of the COBENEFITS Online Train­ing, Mexico

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.