This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 10/12/2018

With a significant and growing government commitment to fighting climate change and reducing energy costs, renewable energy has become a best-prospect industry sector for Mexico. This section includes a market overview and trade data on this dynamic sector.


Mexico’s General Climate Change Law, known as Ley General de Cambio Climático in Spanish, is the country’s guiding instrument for climate change policy for the medium- to long-term with 10, 20, and 40-year goals. As set forth in the law, the Mexican Government intends to increase electricity generated from clean energy sources, including nuclear energy, to 35 percent by 2024 and 50 percent by 2050. Moreover, the 2012 climate change law set a national goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by the end of the decade. Additionally, the Mexican renewable energy market has improved because of the energy reforms passed into law in August 2014. The reform package was largely designed to facilitate private investment, both foreign and domestic, in oil and gas development. The law is expected to positively impact Mexico’s entire power sector, including electricity, with a special focus on renewables, due to Mexico’s commitments to climate change. These commitments were expressed on the Intended National Determined Contribution (INDC) plan that Mexico submitted at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris.

The Energy Reform

The energy reform was designed to liberalize the electricity generation market and open future development to private firms, thereby creating competition among energy producers. Previously, most of Mexico’s electricity was generated by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), Mexico’s state-owned utility company. The reform package created an independent grid operator (the National Energy Control Center 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.


Because of the energy reform, investment in Mexico’s renewable energy sector is expected to increase sharply over the next 15 years. As estimated in the National Electric System Development Program (PRODESEN) for 2018-2032, the total investment for power generation in Mexico will be 1,692 million pesos (approximately USD 90 million) out which 67 percent will be invested in generation from clean energy sources and 33 percent in conventional technology projects. The largest share will be for wind and solar projects, representing 24 percent and 13 percent respectively. In addition, Mexico has become a more attractive market for Foreign Direct Investment. Between 2010 and 2016, Mexico’s renewable energy industry attracted 72 foreign direct investment projects, mainly from Spain, the United States and Italy. Other countries investing in renewable energy projects in Mexico are the United Kingdom, Germany, China and France.

Renewable Energy Potential

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 [SENER]), which recognizes a proven and probable power generation of 125,984 GWH per year. The additional potential (excluding solar) is greater than 195,278 gigawatt-hours (GWH) per year. According to PROMEXICO, solar potential is considered practically unlimited in Mexico with respect to the national energy consumption.

Additional Capacity of Clean Energy

PRODESEN outlines that it is necessary to add 66,912 megawatts (MW) of capacity to the national electricity system in the next 15 years to satisfy electricity demand. From that additional capacity, 45 percent will be for conventional technologies (30,110 MW) and 55 percent for clean technologies (36,802 MW). From the 36,802 MW additional capacity of clean energy sources, PRODESEN estimates that 22 percent will be for wind, 17 percent for solar, 6 percent for nuclear, 4 percent for efficient cogeneration, 3 percent for hydroelectric, 2 percent for biomass, and 1 percent for geothermal.

Clean Energy Certificates

The national goals of sustainable development and emissions reduction outlined in Mexico’s General Climate Change Law are to generate 35 percent of electricity from clean energy sources by 2024, and 50 percent by 2050. As a tool to measure clean energy adoption, the Mexican Government created Clean Energy Certificates (CELs). Mexico’s Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) administers the DECLARACEL system, which grants a CEL for each MW/h of electricity produced by a generator using clean energy technologies. Large consumers of electricity (mainly industrial and commercial, also known as Qualified Consumers) are required to consume electricity generated from clean energy sources. The requirements are 5 percent by 2018 and 5.8 percent by 2019, increasing to 30 percent by 2021 and 35 percent by 2024. Large consumers of electricity will obtain the needed CELs from Qualified Service Suppliers and they will use the DECLARACEL system to submit these certificates and avoid sanctions.

Long-term Auctions

Long-term auctions are a mechanism that allows the basic electricity service providers to enter into contracts competitively to satisfy the demands for Power and Cumulative Electric Power (Energía Eléctrica Acumulable or EEA) and CELs. CRE requires EEA and CEL demands to be covered through long-term contracts. The long-term auctions are also an important channel to attract investment, force all technologies to compete, and ensure efficiency for the buyer. Mexico’s long-term electricity auctions have been considered some of the most important in the world in terms of competitive prices and clean energy. The contracts awarded through the long-term auctions will have a duration of 15 years for EEA, and 20 years for CELs.

Three long-term auctions took place between 2015 and 2018 in the new electricity market in Mexico. With the first two long-term electricity auctions, CFE as the main provider of the basic electricity service secured 15-year power contracts and 20-year contracts for CELs. In the third-long term auction, private buyers of electricity placed purchase orders to participate in addition to CFE. To allow private buyers of electricity to participate in the wholesale electricity market long-term auctions, it was necessary to create a compensation chamber, which is a mechanism for managing contracts, risks and guarantees. In the third long-term electricity auction, the private buyers of electricity that participated were Iberdrola and Menkent This information comes from CEMEX and the SENER Programa de Desarrollo del Sistema Eléctrico Nacional.

In the first long-term electricity auction, the average price per package (MWh + CEL) was USD 47.70. In this first auction, the winning projects represent an investment of USD 2.6 billion and were assigned to 11 companies from Canada, China, Spain, the United States, France, Italy, and Mexico. In the second long-term electricity auction, the average price per package (MWh + CEL) was USD 33.70. In this second auction, the winning projects represent an investment of USD 4.1 billion and were assigned to 23 companies from China, South Korea, the United States, Spain, France, Italy, Mexico, Holland, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. In the third long-term electricity auction, the average price per package (MWh + CEL) was USD 20.57. In this third auction, the winning projects represent an investment of USD 2.4 billion and were assigned to 16 projects coming from Mexico, Spain, France, Italy, Canada, the United States, China, and Japan. To learn more about the results of the long- term auctions, please visit CENACE’s website.

U.S companies were successful in these auctions when they partnered with Mexican firms and presented their offers as part of a consortium. Successful U.S. companies include SunPower, Sempra/Ienova, and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) together offering the X-Elio Project for solar projects, as well as Blackstone and Frontera Generación with a combined cycle plant. Solar and wind energy projects were the main winners of the auctions, but geothermal energy was also favored on the second auction when the offers packaged not only CELs-plus-electricity-MWh, but also capacity.

Leading Sub-Sectors

The renewable energy subsectors with the most potential for U.S. exporters are wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal. U.S. products and services are considered competitive in the Mexican market due to NAFTA preferential tariffs, quality, post-sale services, and guarantees offered by U.S. companies. Moreover, there is constant binational collaboration of key players—such as SENER, CRE, CENACE, and Mexican renewable energy industry associations with the U.S. Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, the U.S. Commercial Service, various state energy agencies, and U.S. renewable energy industry associations. This collaborative environment allows Mexican and U.S. companies to share best practices, knowledge, and technologies while participating in the new electricity market. Distributed generation and energy storage represent opportunities in the mid-term. (For future developments and information on eventual agreements related to the NAFTA renegotiation, check the Fact Sheets and NAFTA pages at the Office of United States Trade Representative at


The U.S. Commercial Service Mexico is happy to assist you in exploring renewable energy market opportunities. The guidelines for the fourth long-term auction were published in March 2018 and will conclude in November 2018. Companies are highly advised to follow the important dates to participate in the auctions either by supplying technology to the participants or by submitting a project that has the potential to participate in the wholesale electricity market. To learn more about the requirements of the third-long term electricity auction and important dates, please visit the SENER website on the action.

Web Resources

Secretariat of Energy (SENER)
Federal Electricity Commission (CFE)
Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE)
National Energy Control Center (CENACE)
National Institute for Electricity and Clean Energy (INEEL)
Fund for Energy Saving (FIDE)
Mexican Association for Wind Energy (AMDEE)
National Association for Solar Energy (ANES)
Mexican Solar Photovoltaic Association (ASOLMEX)
Mexican Geothermal Association (AGM)
Mexican Hydro Power Association (AMEXHIDRO)
National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy (CONUEE)



For more information on the renewable energy sector in Mexico, please contact:

Ms. Claudia Salgado

Commercial Specialist

U.S. Commercial Service - Mexico City

Tel: (52 55) 5080 2000 ext. 5224


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