Category Archives: Ecology

Hurricane Odile – a different view

by David Simmonds
From “The name Odile is a French baby name. The French meaning of the name Odile is Wealthy.”
How’s that for irony? – there IS a lot of money in Cabo, probably the most expensive tourist destination in Mexico.
It’s been over a week now and the town at the end of the Baja highway, Cabo San Lucas, is still a mess, although repairs are in rapid progress. Neighboring San Jose del Cabo was hit too, as was the capital city La Paz, but it was “Cabo” that received the most direct, devastating  haymaker – a punch from which they will not completely recover for many months, maybe a couple of years. This was the strongest blow, a category three,  to hit the area in a long time and the ferocity took most by surprise.
In the aftermath the media often focused on the plight of the tourists, some 30,000, of them, who had their vacations so rudely ruined. I’ve seen and read numerous complaints from some of the unlucky travelers, who were apparently not aware of hurricane season. They recounted how horrible everything was, the inconveniences –  and then having to re-locate (gasp!) to different accommodations, and you know, all that heat without any AC, and they couldn’t go HOME RIGHT AWAY! There was a letter to the editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune that called it shameful of the US government not to use the US military to get the tourists back to their jobs and still – standing homes. They say they should have been “airlifted” because…well, I’m not sure exactly the rationale around that. There were no deaths and a few injuries from things like flying glass. It was an adventure that they will re-tell many times over cocktails. You can always count on Mexico for a good tale.
Forgive my lack of sympathy, but it is the local population of Baja Sur who are the only victims here, and that is where we should put all of our focus. The hotels, resorts and marinas will make the necessary repairs and contact their insurance carriers, as will the expats who have built and bought homes in the area. Mexico people, both native and transplants, are a tough lot. They live in an unforgiving desert in one of the prettiest natural settings I had ever seen when I first stepped off an old Mexican bus into the then tiny town in 1974. These people know what can happen when you live where hurricanes and chubascos brew. It’s part of the contract. They will learn from this and be better prepared for the next one. Because, one day, there will be a next one.
There are many organizations easily found on the web to make a contribution and I strongly suggest that you do so.  Here is one you can trust

Mexico Leading The Way In Solar

If you have ever been to Baja California Sur you might have noticed that the sun shines most days. Understanding the necessity of developing clean energy into the 21st century, a 247 acre plant has recently opened in the capital city of La Paz that will service the electric needs to 164,000 residents, or 64% of the La Paz population. Country-wide, 25% of Mexico’s electricity is currently supplied by clean energy sources, and will increase in the coming years. An abundant, cheap source of energy is a key ingredient to spurring the economy, including tourism. Read here for the full story

Green Energy In Mexico

The has been a lot of controversy about Congress voting to allow private investment in Mexico’s oil production, not the least being the fear that Mexico will lose a piece of its independence and control over its own resources. But the legislation could also affect how Mexico supplies electricity, which means a boost for Green Energy. Here is a good summary on how this will happen

Suntech Powers Latin America with Largest Solar Field

30MW solar PV field doubles installed capacity in Mexico

WUXI, China, July 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP) (“Suntech Holdings” or the “Company”), one of the world’s largest solar companies, today announced that it is supplying the photovoltaic modules for the largest solar power plant in Latin America, a 30MW plant in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico.

The 132,000 Suntech Ve and Vd panels will be installed by Martifer Solar, a Portugal-based fully-integrated solar company, on a 100-hectares site. Owned by Corporacion Aura Solar, the project is being developed by Gauss Energia, a leading Mexican energy project developer focused on renewable energy.

The project has strong financial support from Mexican local development bank NAFIN, and from the International Finance Corporation. It is Mexico’s first utility-scale solar project with a Power Purchase Agreement from Mexico’s federal power company.

E.L. McDaniel, Managing Director of Suntech America, said, “We are very excited to supply the panels for the largest solar field in Latin America. With Mexico’s excellent sunlight and strong renewable energy demand, we expect to see excellent growth of PV in the region.”

Henrique Rodrigues, CEO of Martifer Solar, said, “The construction of Latin America’s largest PV plant confirms our best expectations for 2013. This is an emblematic project for Martifer Solar, in a region that, due to its irradiation characteristics, finds solar electricity as a viable and more competitive alternative, when compared with non-renewable energy sources. We consider Mexico as a key market in Martifer Solar’s internationalization strategy.”

Hector Olea, CEO of Gauss Energia, said, “Aura Solar is the first project of a larger initiative that aims to become a platform to develop utility-scale PV facilities in Mexico. With Mexico’s solar potential expected to reach around 2,000 MW by 2020, Aura Solar has broken ground in the PV sector, and it is paving the way for future projects in the field. We are quite satisfied to have worked with Suntech and Martifer on this project.”

The plant will have a production capacity of 82 GWh/year, equivalent to offsetting more than 60,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year. The plant’s construction is scheduled to be completed in August 2013.

About Martifer Solar

Martifer Solar is present all over the world, focusing on Project Development, EPC, O&M and the distribution of PV modules and components, via its subsidiary MPrime.

The company is based in Portugal and has a presence in Europe (Spain, Italy, Greece, Belgium, France, Czech Republic, Slovakia, United Kingdom, Germany, Romania and Ukraine), North and Latin America (United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Brazil and Ecuador), Africa (Cape Verde, Mozambique and South Africa) and Asia (India, United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Japan).

According to Martifer Solar, in 2012 Martifer Solar’s revenues reached 230.8 million Euros and, to date, the company has implemented more than 400 MW of photovoltaic solar energy worldwide.

Martifer Solar is part of the Martifer Group, a multinational industrial group with around 3,000 employees focused on metallic constructions and solar energy. Martifer SGPS, SA is the holding company of the Group and has been listed on Euronext Lisbon since June 2007.

About Gauss Energia

Founded in 2004, Gauss is a leading business development firm, specialized in Mexico’s energy sector. Gauss’s activity focuses on the identification, development and structuring of investment opportunities.

Particularly, Gauss Energia has a wide experience in the development of renewable energy projects in Mexico. Its knowledge on the regulatory and commercial frameworks in the Mexican energy sector allowed Gauss to participate successfully on the structuring of projects over 300 MW with renewable energy sources.

About Suntech

Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP) produces solar products for residential, commercial, industrial, and utility applications. With regional operations in China, Switzerland, and the United States, and gigawatt-scale manufacturing worldwide, Suntech has delivered more than 25,000,000 photovoltaic panels to over a thousand customers in more than 80 countries. Suntech’s pioneering R&D creates customer-centric innovations that are designed to drive solar to grid parity against fossil fuels. Suntech’s mission is to provide everyone with reliable access to nature’s cleanest and most abundant energy source.

Safe Harbor Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements constitute “forward-looking” statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as “will,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “future,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates” and similar statements, and includes the actual performance of the panels, the ability of the project to double Mexico’s installed PV capacity, and ability to generate 82GWh/year and offset more than 60,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year. Further information regarding these and other risks is included in Suntech’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including its annual report on Form 20-F. Suntech does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required under applicable law.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Ryan Scott Ulrich
Public Relations and Investor Relations
Ph: +86-510-8531-8654


President Inaugurates Forest Program

Here is an announcement from President Enrique Pena Nieto on a new Forestry Program. This is a great move for the environment and the people of Mexico.

Today I returned to the city of Las Palmas, the capital of the beautiful state of Colima.

Colima is a state where virtually all forestry activities are conducted in marginalized areas, using subsistence practices with low productivity and high environmental costs. However, it is a state with great potential for the development of sustainable forestry.

So I came to this land to present the new National Forest Program (PRONAFOR), designed to improve the social and economic conditions of those living in forests and protect them.

The program will be operated by the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR), which this year will have a budget of 6,937 million pesos. The goal for 2018 is to practically double the timber production achieved in 2011 from 5.5 million 10.7 cubic meters.

Our forests and jungles generate large benefits: they prevent soil erosion and loss; generate water; purify the air; capture carbon and produce timber. If we exploit them rationally and sustainably, forests can be a great source of wealth for those who live in them.

Monarch Butterfly Migration Heads to Mexico

Every year (November through March, with the best month being February) millions of black and orange monarch butterflies find their way to Mexico. The monarchs’ annual journey, encompassing more than 2,500 miles, takes the butterflies from Canada and the northeast United States to their winter home in Michoacán, where, in some areas, they can number four million per acre of land. With their four-inch wingspans, the monarchs cloak fir trunks and hang on boughs in clusters of tens of thousands. Up to 250 million monarchs winter in the region pulsating in the trees and creating one of nature’s brilliant displays. A Mexican legend says that the souls of the dead are reborn as monarch butterflies. Organized tours are available from the capital city of Morelia. Read more and see a video clip….

SK Films is proud to present Flight of the Butterflies. Follow the monarchs’ perilous and extraordinary journey, and join hundreds of millions of real butterflies in the remote mountain peaks of Mexico. For the very first time, witness the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly. This includes being able to see inside a chrysalis, due to advanced MRI and micro CT scans. Become lost in the compelling story of a courageous scientist’s 40-year search to find the secret migration destination of monarchs. More details…

Here is a link to the dates and locations where the film will premiere in the US and Canada.


Mayan Hotel Xixim: Wellness Center Provides Serenity in Nature

Mexico Today News:

If you’re visiting Merida, be sure to spend some time in Celestun and  check out the Hotel Xixim . This eco-friendly, luxury property is for those who truly want to disconnect from civilization.  With 32 bungalows designed to be a part of the landscape, Xixim is one of more unique properties I have visited in Mexico. At home on a pristine and deserted stretch of beach, Xixim appeals to the adventure traveler who also enjoys the perks of a fine hotel.

You won’t find air conditioning or television in the rooms, but you will find two beautiful pools, a wellness center, an excellent bar and restaurant (complete with vegan and vegetarian menu items), and top notch service.  I did an earlier post about Celestun and recently the following article was posted about the property on the Mexico Today site. Read more: