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Official Name:
United Mexican States

National Designated Entity

Type of organisation:
Ms. María Amparo Martínez Arroyo 
Director General
+52 55 5424 6400 ext. 13173 and 13174

Energy profile

Mexico (2014)

Energy profile
Energy profile
Extent of network

National electrification rate (2008): 97% More than 3 million inhabitants, living for the most part in areas difficult to access, still lack electricity.

Renewable energy potential

Mexico has an abundance of renewable energy (RE) sources such as geothermal, wind, hydro, solar, biomass and biogas. Newest efforts for reaching Mexico’s RE targets focus almost exclusively on wind power. Key legislation has allowed for the generation of wind power through a model called “self-supply”. Despite few existing financing mechanisms and incentives, and a state-owned utility that controls the market and presently offers an energy purchasing price that makes RE power non-viable, self-supply wind parks have served as a key catalyst to build capacity and provide financing models for Mexico’s first Independent Power Producer (IPP) project and future RE power projects.HydropowerThe hydropower generation capacity in Mexico is managed by both private and public sectors. In 2012, CFE reported 11,603 MW of installed capacity among its 72 stations in operation; this included hydroelectric stations with 30 MW or below. The private sector has 28 stations located in nine states with a total installed capacity of 308 MW. Although the full potential for this form of energy generation has not been completely estimated, the National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy (CONAE) has already identified over 100 possible sites for its exploitation. For example, in the states of Veracruz and Puebla, it is estimated that there is a potential for the generation of 3570 GWh/year equivalent to an average installed capacity of 400 MW. Wind energyThe installed capacity of wind power farms in operation reached about 1,215 MW. Only 7% is operated by the Federal Commission of Electricity (CFE), and the rest is operated through licensees under self-sufficiency, small producers and dependent producer contracts. The self-supply scheme allows companies to generate electricity for self-consumption by establishing a body/entity whose main purpose is to satisfy all the energy requirements of its partners.  The main wind power generation system is in the south-east of Mexico (La Venta-Oaxaca). This system is connected to the national interconnected grid system with a power capacity of 84.6 MW, and a capacity factor of nearly 40% during 2008. It is planned to add 591 MW through private generators. Mexico has a wind energy potential of 71,000 MW, although only 1.7% of this potential is currently in use. There are different zones with wind energy potential and:A) Isthmus of Tehuantepec (Oaxaca): it is the location of the majority of Mexico´s wind parks. They have a capacity of 1,174 MW in operation and there are also seven projects under construction, with a total estimated capacity of 1,248 MW. It is estimated that this region has a potential of more than 40,000 MW due to the excellent wind conditions.B) The State of Baja California has a wind potential that exceeds 5000 MW. There are currently three projects under construction with a total installed capacity of 102 MW in the Rumorosa region. Unfortunately, the project development schedule in this area has been delayed by legal uncertainty in land lease contracts between private developers and communal land owners in the area.C) The coast of the Gulf of Mexico: It is formed by the bay of Campeche and the states of Tamaulipas and Veracruz where a 161 MW project is planned to be built in.D) The Northern and Central Region comprised by the states of Nuevo León, Coahuila, Chihuahua and Sonora have lower capacity factors in the range of 20–30%. Nuevo Leon has installed 274 MW for power generation and San Luis Potosi has a wind power station under construction with an expected capacity of 200 MW.E) The coast of the Yucatan Peninsula: it has wind potential because of its excellent wind flows on the coast of Quintana Roo and the island of Cozumel.Solar energyMexico is one of the top five most attractive countries in the world to invest in photovoltaic (PV) solar power projects, only behind China and Singapore. The potential of solar energy in Mexico is one of the highest in the world. This is because the country is located in the so called “solar belt” with radiation exceeding 5 KWh per square meter per day. Furthermore, Mexico has the largest PV module manufacturing base in Latin America. Within Mexico, the solar energy potential is highly accumulated in the north-western part of the country. The annual global solar radiation in Mexico goes from 5.6 to 6.1 KWh/m2-day. In comparison, despite the recent significant growth in solar energy production in the European Union, the potential of solar energy in Europe is far lower.Geothermal energyMexico has a significant development on geothermal generation and is ranked fourth in geothermal power generation worldwide. The state of Baja California has the largest share in this technology. Present installed geothermal-electric capacity in Mexico is 958 MW, although the effective or running capacity is 883 MW because two old 37.5-MW power units in Cerro Prieto were decommissioned in 2011. The Cerro Prieto plant accounts for close to the three quarters of total installed capacity in Mexico. Due to the high investment needed for geothermal exploration, the potential of this RES in Mexico has not been fully evaluated. Considering recent estimates of the geothermal electric potential in Mexico, it is possible to conclude that it can be defined as 2310 MW from high- and intermediate-temperature hydrothermal resources and at least 5250 MW from high- and intermediate-temperatureTidal powerThe Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) has calculated that in the Sea of Cortes (peninsula of Baja California), it would be possible to obtain a high generation of electricity from tidal energy due to the sea currents in the Canal of Infiernillo and to the hydrothermal vents (faults of distension in the sea bed). At the moment, the country has no electrical plants or projects under development of any kind to make use of tidal energy.Biomass energyThere were 59 reported operating projects for co-generation and power supply in 2012. Biomass power has installed capacity of 548 MW in operation, 40 MW are from biogas and the rest from sugar cane bagasse biomass. A potential production of bioenergy is estimated between 2635 and 3771 PJ/year in Mexico, where 77.9% would come from solid biomass such as Eucalyptus plantations, agroindustrial waste and crop residues, 20.1% from liquid bioenergetics (from sugarcane, Jatropha curcas and palm oil) and 2% from biogas (from municipal solid waste and cattle manure). It is important to point out that these estimations were based on suitable lands for each plantation and excluded those (a) used for agriculture, (b) covered by forests, jungles and other natural hedges, (c) belong to conservation areas and (d) non arable because they have a slope higher than 4–12%.

Energy framework

The National Development Plan 2007–2012 sets the rational and sustainable use of natural resources and the progressive diminution of greenhouse effect gas emissions as a priority goal. The energy policy of Mexico aims to secure supply of energy, to diversify primary energy sources, reducing their environmental impact and to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of public companies. The installation of the most developed RE (hydraulic, biomass, wind and sun) in the shortest possible time is considered essential to obtain these goals.The National Development Plan 2013-2018 is currently being drafted by the government. Key points will include establishing indicators to measure the effectiveness of the government in all sectors of the economy, and measures to improve the democratisation of national productivity.On the 27th June 2007 in the official federal bulletin, the contract for interconnection to solar energy on a small scale was published. It is applicable to all solar energy generators with capacity equal to or less than 30 kW. The Law for the Promotion and Development of Bioenergies passed in February 2008, encourages the use of ethanol and other liquid bio-carburets.In November 2008, the Renewable Energy Development and Financing for Energy Transition Law was passed (the Renewable Energy Law). The Bill mandated SENER to produce a National Strategy for Energy Transition and Sustainable Energy Use and a Special Programme for Renewable Energy. The main objective of the Law is to regulate the use of RES and clean technology, as well as to establish a national strategy and financing instruments to allow Mexico to scale-up electricity generation based on renewable resources. SENER and CRE are responsible for defining those mechanisms and establishing legal instruments to allow the increase of renewable power generation.In November 2008, the Sustainable Use/Energy Efficiency Law was approved. Its objective is to provide incentives for the sustainable use of energy in all processes and activities related to its exploitation, production, transformation, distribution and consumption, including EE measures. More specifically, the law proposes:The creation of the Programa Nacional para el Uso Sustentable de la Energía, which targets energy efficiency. The Programme focuses on electricity consumption activities in the industrial, residential, commercial and public sectors (e.g. replacement of appliances, old refrigerators, and incandescent bulbs by CFLs, EE investments in municipalities, industrial motors EE, cogeneration in the cement, steel and iron industries, water pumping EE, etc.).The establishment of the Comisión Nacional para el Uso Eficiente de la Energía (CONUEE) as a decentralized body of SENER that (i) will advise the National Public Administration and (ii) promote the implementation of best practices related to EE. The Commission replaces the former Comisión Nacional para el Ahorro de Energía (CONAE), which has been the leading government EE body.The creation of a Consejo Consultivo para el Aprovechamiento Sustentable de la Energía as part of the above mentioned Commission to evaluate the compliance of objectives, strategies, actions and goals of the programme. This Council will consist of the Minister of Finance and six researchers with extensive experience in the area.The creation of the Subsistema Nacional de Informacion on EE to register, organize, update and disseminate information about energy consumption and its end-uses in (i) sectors that use this energy, (ii) distinct geographical regions of the country, as well as examining, (iii) factors that impel these uses and, (iv) indicators of EE.In this context, the government is carrying out the following activities: (i) a programme aimed at replacing incandescent bulbs (IBs) for Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) in the residential sector, targeting over 200 million CFLs over a five year period, (ii) an appliances replacement programme targeting more than 5.5 million appliances over a 5-year period, (iii) the modernization of the public transport system for long distances and surroundings, (iv) a programme for EE in municipalities including the substitution of lamps for more efficient public lighting, (v) industrial and commercial EE programs, (vi) supply side EE in the electricity sector, and (vii) EE in PEMEX.On August 12th 2013, the Mexican government presented a wide-ranging proposal for reform of the energy sector. The aims of the proposal include further developing the country’s oil and natural gas market as a source of economic growth, lowering electricity prices for the populace, and encouraging private participation in the energy sector. Key measures in the proposal include more autonomy for the parastatal CFE and PEMEX, whilst still retaining 100% state control of the companies. Also included are proposals to allow private participation in both the electricity and oil and gas sectors, specifically in upstream oil and gas operations, and in power generation, while maintaining state control over transmission and distribution activities. The proposed reforms also provide for the establishment of an independent transmission and distribution system operator to boost competitiveness, by determining power producer participation in the electricity market based on the lowest generation costs. In turn, these savings from competition should be passed on to consumers, resulting in lower electricity prices.Whilst there is no direct support for renewable energy within the energy sector reform proposal, indirect effects of the opening of power generation to independent producers could result in increased RE penetration in the country.

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