Assessment of a sustainable proposal for a solar energy system for the rural Mixteca - Puebla, Mexico

Project description

Global energy demand increases in all World Energy Outlook scenarios in which fossil fuels are the dominant source of energy supply worldwide. The fossil fuel share accounts for up to 80% in the forecasts for the year 2020. Despite efforts to decarbonize the world’s energy system to diminish the impact of energy use on climate change, the share of fossil fuels in the global energy mix is still high. Renewable energies are seen as a main source of future energy provision.

Mexico is a country with several reserves of energy sources. However, its energy supply system is traditionally mostly based on fossil fuels. To secure its future energy base, Mexico has to switch to a new technology mix and innovate in the use of renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. Such innovations could also place Mexico back on track of being an energy export country again. Additional advantages could be the establishment of a new industry whose economic activity would bring further income sources to improve social conditions in the area, thus reducing poverty.

Among all clean and renewable energy sources, there is one Mexico could excel due to its privileged location: solar energy. The general idea of the proposed project is to develop strategies to implement a sustainable energy system with solar energy as an important contributor considering technical and economic constraints as well as societal demands in Mixteca. The research will combine the Cross-Impact Balance (CIB) method to identify main elements promoting but also impeding such an energy system transformation with the Integrated Concept of Sustainability (ICoS) to assess the possible strategies regarding their sustainability. Low carbon transition pathways analysis inevitably involves a consideration of the uncertainties surrounding future technological, economic, political, and social changes.

Since the Cross-Impact Balance analysis is designed to assist in building qualitative scenarios based on expert judgments on the relevance and interdependence of scenario components and the Integrated Concept of Sustainability deals mostly with qualitative information, the combination of both methods intends to bring the best insights for implementing a solar energy system. Considering not only technology and economical aspects, but also social and sustainable reasons, that will benefit not only stakeholders, but the social community in the Mixteca. Thus, it will also entail an increase in life standards and reduce poverty in such rural area.

Administrative data

Supervisor: Dr. Witold-Roger Poganietz
Advisor: Prof. Dr. Armin Grunwald
Doctoral students at ITAS: See Doctoral studies at ITAS


Dr. phil. Laura-Patricia Oviedo-Toral
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe