Mixed Signals Drive Back Renewables in Mexico

Mixed Signals Drive Back Renewables in Mexico

A country’s energy generation capacity is influenced directly by its location and available natural resources; that is what makes Mexico such an opportunistic country to acquire multiple energy sources to power its electric grid. It currently uses most of the energy sources available to it, except tidal, wave, and hydrogen. According to IEA, Mexico consumed 285 Terawatt hours (TWh) in 2019 with a below-average intake of 2,228.10 Kilowatt hours (kWh) per capita despite a growing 120 million person population.

Since 2015 Mexico has moved from state-owned responsibility for all energy generation to a mix of private and government-owned entities—except for the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) which preserves government transmission and distribution responsibilities. As part of this new reform, major milestones regarding renewables usage were achieved through electricity auctions. However, last year the 4th long-term auction was canceled, thus giving mixed signals towards Mexico’s commitment to renewable energy.

As a country with high solar potential and estimated maximum of 8.5 kWh per square meter in the Northeast and Baja California, only close to 2% of Mexico’s electricity is produced this way. They recently joined the IEA and, using their data, we note a persistently strong dependence on conventional power generations, especially in natural gas and oil accounting for nearly 70% of the national grid. Coal follows with 8% of the energy share, hydro 7%, wind power 5%, nuclear 4%, solar and geothermal 2% each, and biofuels and waste making up the rest.

Mexico’s historical dependence on oil dating back to 1990 is no longer a reality. Natural gas has currently surpassed oil as a leading energy source. However, practically all Mexican natural gas is imported which may be the reason why the current government has been advocating a return to oil as a means of ensuring energy sovereignty.

Source. IEA


In order for Mexico to meet its goal of 35% of electricity generation from clean energy sources by 2024, better coherence on public energy and climate policy has to happen. Mexico can become one of the largest renewable resource economies due to its high solar and wind resources.

Learn More:

IEA, Mexico’s Key energy statistics, 2018 https://www.iea.org/countries/mexico

SENER, Programa de Desarrollo del Sistema Eléctrico Nacional 2016-2030 https://www.gob.mx/cms/uploads/attachment/file/98308/PRODESEN-2016-2030_1.pdf

Deloitte, Acuerdo por el que se emite la política de confiabilidad, seguridad, continuidad y calidad en el Sistema Eléctrico Nacional https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/mx/Documents/legal/2020/PoIitica-confiabilidad-seguridad-continuidad-calidad-sistema-electrico.pdf

U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Country Analysis Executive Summary: Mexico https://www.eia.gov/international/analysis/country/MEX

Mexico Energy Review 2018: https://issuu.com/mexicobusinesspublishing/docs/mer_2018_to_show

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Mexico Country Manager Sara Zetune

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