Mexico seeks better way to evaluate impacts of potential hydroelectric projects

To improve the sustainable development of energy infrastructure in Mexico, a new project has been launched that is supported by US$700,000 in funding from the Inter-American Development Bank.

The project involves Mexico’s Secretary of Energy (SENER), the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), The Nature Conservancy Mexico (TNC) and the Mexican Association of Hydroelectric Energy (AMEXHIDRO).

The project will involve using “scientifically-developed tools” to evaluate and identify ways to reduce the risk of investment in hydroelectric infrastructure projects, according to a press release from TNC. Social and environmental considerations, which are frequently overlooked in traditional planning processes, will be included in the early stages of hydropower development.

Through this evaluation, a framework will be developed for the design and implementation of financial mechanisms that ensure development accounts for the cumulative impacts of projects throughout a river basin, the press release says. Once the design phase is completed, this project will evaluate the creation of a fund that will encourage the application of early planning evaluations throughout various infrastructure sectors.

TNC points to its tool, called Hydropower-by-Design, which enables better early stage planning of infrastructure, says Dr. Giulio Boccaletti, chief strategy officer and global managing director, water with TNC.

An article by TNC on the topic of Hydropower by Design is appearing in the December issue of Hydro Review. Click here to subscribe.

The current project is based on the results of a first stage carried out in the Coatzacoalcos river basin. TNC says the lessons learned and recommendations will “serve to apply the concept to other sectors and countries, in Latin America and globally.”

If you’re looking for more on the topic of new development or environmental issues surrounding hydropower, HydroVision International offers panel presentation sessions on New Development and Water and Environment. Click here to learn more.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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