Lithium, sun and electric cars, this is how Sonora plans to become the ‘Silicon Valley’ of renewable energy | The USA Print


The desert State of Sonora will exploit its natural resources to the maximum to be the spearhead of the green revolution in Mexico. The entity, with a mining vocation for thousands of years, has discovered a new vein of business in the lands of Bacadéhuachi: lithium, an essential mineral in electric car batteries, is now a key piece of the current Government in the development of the Sonora Plan, the strategy for combat climate change while making the use of renewable energy profitable. The state governor, Alfonso Durazo, has emphasized that the increase in demand for lithium has raised its price to $84,000 per ton. “In addition to lithium, our State is a mining State, its impact is precisely the mining activity, it represents 17% of the state GDP. An electric vehicle requires 80 kilos of copper, being a mining state it has lithium and graphite, two of the fundamental components of a battery” he comments.

More than a decade after the then candidate López Obrador raised the idea of ​​a solar plant in Sonora, the strategy begins to take shape In addition to lithium, the strategy has as an important pillar the construction of the largest photovoltaic plant in Latin America , in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora. The first phase of the solar park, with 120 megawatts, has already been turned on, however, there is still a long way to go. The plant, in its entirety, will have a maximum capacity of one gigawatt, 2,000 hectares of extension and a total investment of more than 840 million dollars. In addition to this first megapark, the governor added, the construction of four more solar plants in the state is planned. The Sonora Plan —which has already been presented to the US Government— also contemplates the construction of a network of natural gas liquefaction factories from the United States, as well as the modernization of ports and highways.

Durazo, emphasized in his speech that climatic disturbances are no longer an intellectual extravagance, they are a reality that affects those most in need. “Sonora will be the Silicon Valley of renewable energies and the Sonora Plan represents a project to decarbonize the economy, an extremely ambitious plan that will take advantage of the sun and lithium for a clean energy future. Sonora, historically a net importer of energy, now has the opportunity to become an exporter of clean energy,” said the state president during the forum organized in Hermosillo on Monday.

At the opening of the forum, the director of EL PAÍS America, Jan Martínez Ahrens, insisted on the prevailing urgency of acting against climate change. “Primordial balances are at risk, ecological and economic stability and the future of coming generations are at risk. In EL PAÍS, our newspaper has become a basic editorial principle, we are against those who deny climate change, we are against those who continue betting on dirty energies for the mere desire for profit. At this point, profitability has to incorporate the environmental variable, it has to seek to alleviate the effects of climate change, ”he declared.

During the discussion table The challenge of implementing clean energy, The Secretary of the State Economy, Margarita Vélez, pointed out that the great challenge is to make the use of clean energy a business and the Sonora Plan gives companies that possibility. “Immense amounts of green energy are going to be provided to them, for now the Sonora Plan will provide them with up to five gigawatts, but it can grow more,” she mentioned. In this same space, moderated by the editor-in-chief of EL PAÍS, Sonia Corona, the expert, Ángel Balderas, warned about the challenge of promoting this energy transition in all industries. “There is a zero emission in the electric car, but not in its manufacture. We are a country with an energy matrix where 60% of the electricity comes from natural gas, from fossil fuels”, he commented.

With the recent announcement of Tesla’s arrival in Mexico with his gigafactory of electric cars, the attraction of green investments was a relevant issue. Armando Barajas, executive commissioner of the Sustainable Government’s Commission for Ecology and Sustainable Development, assured that the State is adapting legal and environmental schemes to facilitate both national and foreign green investment. In the same panel, the co-founder of the company Megaflux Electric Drivetrains, Felipe Gallego, mentioned, however, that it is not only a matter of whether or not the Government gives incentives to buy an electric car, for example, but rather that people do everyone is aware of the energy, economic and environmental advantages of this type of vehicle compared to traditional internal combustion units.

Francisco Acuña, president of the Council for Sustainable Development of the State, closed the day of analysis, assured that becoming a leader in the development of green energies will have an economic and social impact, it will be a national benchmark. “This also helps to add value to other industries and to become a hub semiconductor region”, he concluded.

The most ambitious green project of the Government of López Obrador has a specific geographic coordinate: Sonora. Natural resources exist, the challenges and opportunities for the integration of this value chain are already on the table.

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