Mexico - Q. Renewable EnergyMexico - Renewable Energy
With Mexico’s commitment to fight climate change, legal requirements to reduce energy costs, and abundant wind and solar resources, renewable energy has become a best prospect industry sector for Mexico. The López Obrador Administration has begun to refine its priorities for the power sector, which will have some potentially significant positive effects on renewable energy prospects. This section includes a market overview and trade data on this dynamic sector.
From 2013 through 2018, Mexico embarked on a reform of its power sector. These reforms continue in force, and the new administration has been developing priorities for 2019 through 2033. Below we summarize the changes already implemented and those anticipated in coming years. As an immediate goal, the López Obrador Administration’s goal is to have 35 percent of Mexico’s electricity generated from clean energy sources by 2024. The Government’s plans for the sector are influenced by Mexico’s General Climate Change Law, known as Ley General de Cambio Climático in Spanish. The law established national goals for sustainable economic growth and emissions reduction. Please see our Electricity section for further background.
Energy Reform 2013-2018
The country’s energy reforms in 2013 were designed to liberalize the electricity generation market and encourage private sector involvement, thereby creating competition among energy producers. Before the reforms took place, most of Mexico’s electricity was generated by the Federal Electricity Commission (Comisión Federal de Electricidad or CFE), Mexico’s state-owned utility company. The reform package created an independent grid operator, the National Energy Control Center (Centro Nacional de Control de Energía or CENACE), which controls a new wholesale market and enables customers to purchase power directly from generators. The creation of CENACE established an independent power producer market in Mexico for the first time in the country’s history.
In order to comply with national sustainable development and emissions reduction goals outlined in Mexico’s General Climate Change Law, the Mexican Government created Clean Energy Certificates (Certificados de Energías Limpias or CELs). A CEL is granted per each MW/h of electricity produced by a generator using clean energy technologies. Large consumers of electricity (primarily industrial and commercial, also known as Qualified Consumers) are required to consume electricity generated from clean energy sources. In 2019 the requirement is for 5.8 percent of electricity generated to come from clean energy sources.
Long-term auctions were designed as a mechanism that allowed the basic electricity service providers to enter into contracts competitively to satisfy the demands for power and CELs through the long-term contracts. The long-term auctions were considered an important channel to attract investment for renewable energy. The contracts awarded through these long-term auctions were planned to have a duration of 15 years, and 20 years for CELs.
Three long-term auctions took place between 2015 and 2018 in Mexico. U.S. companies were successful in these auctions when they partnered with Mexican firms and presented their offers as part of a consortium. Solar and wind energy projects were the primary auction winners, but geothermal energy was also favored in the second auction, when the offers packaged not only CELs plus electricity MWh, but also capacity. The auctions were highly competitive with each one setting a new record low prices for solar and wind projects. The Lopez Obrador Administration cancelled the scheduled long-term auction shortly after taking office.
On May 31, 2019, SENER published an updated Development Program of the National Electrical System (Programa de Desarrollo del Sistema Eléctrico Nacional or PRODESEN) for 2019–2033. This document contains the planning for the National Electric System (Sistema Eléctrico Nacional or SEN) for electricity generation, transmission, distribution and commercialization. The López Obrador Administration intends not only to meet electricity demand, but also to maximize power generation, transmission and distribution practices to contribute to sustainable economic growth.
Development Program of the National Electrical System 2019-2033 – Renewable Energy Potential
PRODESEN emphasizes Mexico’s multiple commitments to sustainable development, including commitments made in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Mexico has an enormous resource potential for renewable energy projects, according to the National Inventory of Renewable Energies (INERE, an application launched by the Mexican Secretariat of Energy or SENER), which recognizes a proven and probable power generation of 125,984 GWH per year. In 2018, Mexico registered a total power generation of 317,278 GWh, which included the gross generation from CFE and the net generation from independent power producers. Out of the total of electricity generated, 51 percent belonged to combined cycle, with the remaining sources ranked as: conventional thermal (13.2%), hydroelectric (10.2%), carbon (9.2%), nuclear(4.3%), wind (3.9%), gas turbine (2.7%), efficient cogeneration (2.2%), geothermal (1.7%), to photovoltaic (0.7%), internal combustion (0.7%), and bioenergy (0.2%).
Another important element for renewable energy development in Mexico expected to contribute to emission reductions commitments is electromobility. The Mexican Government is interested in further exploring opportunities and designing a strategy to promote the use of hybrid and electric cars and other transportation. The Mexican Secretariat of Environment (Secretaría del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales or SEMARNAT) leads in developing a strategy for electromobility and is working together with other government agencies and stakeholders.
Other Potential Opportunities for Renewable Energy
CFE has been working on the deployment of electric charging stations for some time. CFE has presented an initiative known as the Program for the Promotion of Electromobility through the Investment of Recharging Infrastructure (Programa para la Promoción de Electromobilidad a través de la Inversion en Infraestructura de Recarga or PEII), which was developed with government agencies, the Mexico City Government, industry associations and private companies.
At the local level, in May 2019 the Mexico City Government presented their Solar City initiative (Ciudad Solar in Spanish), which includes several small- to medium-scale solar projects for water heating and power and generation. The Solar City initiative also includes a photovoltaic system of 4 MW to supply 100 percent of the electricity needed for municipal light rail. The Solar City initiative is aligned with Mexico City’s goal to reduce 30 percent of contaminant emissions from mobile sources by 2024.
The renewable energy sub-sectors with the most potential for U.S. exporters are wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal. Other relevant technologies that offer the best potential according to Mexican government initiatives are energy storage, distributed generation and electromobility. In the past, there has been significant U.S.-Mexico bilateral cooperation on renewable energy. CS Mexico is monitoring these developments in the new administration. Please contact us for the latest information.
U.S. expertise in renewable energy, energy storage, distributed generation and electromobility technologies is highly valued. We encourage companies to connect to the U.S. Commercial Service Mexico to discuss the best strategy for your company take advantage of current and upcoming programs and activities.
|Secretariat of Energy (SENER)||www.gob.mx/sener|
|Federal Electricity Commission (CFE)||www.cfe.gob.mx|
|Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE)||www.cre.gob.mx|
|National Energy Control Center (CENACE)||www.gob.mx/cenace|
|National Institute for Electricity and Clean Energy (INEEL)||www.ineel.mx|
|Fund for Energy Saving (FIDE)|
|Mexican Association for Wind Energy (AMDEE)|
|National Association for Solar Energy (ANES)||www.anes.org|
|Mexican Solar Photovoltaic Association (ASOLMEX)||www.asolmex.org|
|Mexican Geothermal Association (AGM)||www.geotermia.org.mx|
|Mexican Hydro Power Association (AMEXHIDRO)||amexhidro.org|
|National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy (CONUEE)||www.conuee.gob.mx|
- Solar Power International, September 23–26, 2019, Salt Lake City, Utah
- Mexico WindPower Expo, February 25–26, 2020, Mexico City
- MIREC Week, May 2020, Mexico City
For more information on the renewable energy sector in Mexico, please contact:
U.S. Commercial Service—Mexico City
Tel: +52 (55) 5080-2000 ext. 5224
Mexico Energy Trade Development and Promotion