Solar leads green energy growth in Mexico

10/26/2015 The Globe and Mail

Innovation2With its long history as a petroleum producer, Mexico might not be the first place people think of when it comes to cleantech and renewables.

Yet over the past few years the country has become a magnet for companies in the sustainable energy sector, companies as interested in its solar, wind and geothermal resources as its oil and gas. And with recent changes to laws governing power generation, experts say, that interest will only increase.

“There has definitely been exponential growth in the sector,” said Luis Aguirre Torres, chief executive officer of the Mexico City-based consultancy GreenMomentum Inc. The biggest has been in solar energy, he added, which has experienced triple-digit growth rates, but the development of wind, biomass and geothermal projects are also on the increase.

Behind that growth spurt is the constitutional amendment voted on by the Mexican congress in December of 2013. While the opening it gave to private companies in the oil and gas sector has garnered the lion’s share of attention, subsequent laws have also focused on electricity generation.

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Energy Reform: will Mexico’s newest revolution boost renewables – or just fossil fuels?

6/3/15 The Guardian

For the first time since 1energy - oil pumps938, the world’s largest oil companies are preparing to invest in Mexico. The last time they were there, things ended badly: President Lázaro Cárdenas seized their assets, created state-owned oil monopoly Petróleos Mexicanos – or Pemex – and sent foreign competitors packing.

Now, 77 years later, Mexico is inviting them back. As part of its far-reaching hydrocarbon and electricity reforms, the country is reopening its largely untapped oil and natural gas reserves to foreign investors and competitors. The process will begin in earnest in mid-July with an initial auction of 14 oil exploration areas in the Gulf of Mexico.

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New Publication: Renewable Energy in Mexico’s Northern Border Region

Renewable EnergyHeavy reliance on fossil fuels is a common theme across the Mexican Northern Border States with the notable exception of Baja California (which gets over 30% of its public service electricity from the Cerro Prieto geothermal plant). Despite abundant wind, solar and bioenergy resources, Northern Mexico has yet to fully embrace the energytransition, but this could rapidly change in the next few years.

Mexico’s recent Energy Reform, which included modifications to the Constitution in December 2013 and a comprehensive package of implementing legislation on August of 2014, represents a fundamental transformation of the sector. For renewable energy, the major opportunities are related to the creation of a new electricity market and the introduction of Clean Energy Certificates. In the new market, the National Center for Electricity Control
and Dispatch (CENACE) will be fully independent of Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), thus allowing for a more transparent wholesale electricity market in which users above a set consumption threshold will be allowed to freely switch between generators. Mexico has already committed to produce 35% of its electricity from clean sources by 2024.

This publication “Renewable Energy in Mexico’s Northern Border Region” analyzes the current renewable energy situation in the north of the country, discusses potential resources that could be used for electricity generation from renewable sources, and provides policy recommendations to increase the use of renewables in the energy sector and to achieve long-term energy sustainability.

Download the publication here. 

Upcoming Event: The Future of Renewable Energy and Climate Change Policy in Mexico

environment - energy - light bulb with paddy riceWHEN: Tuesday, April 28th, 9:00am-10:30am

WHERE: 5th Floor Conference Room, Woodrow Wilson Center

Click here to RSVP.

Mexico’s recent Energy Reform marked a big change in terms of investment and opportunities in oil and gas. However, the comprehensive package of legislation was also aimed to incentivize and accelerate the change towards the production of goods and services based on renewable energies. Mexico has great potential to develop a wide range of renewable energies including solar energy, hydroelectric, geothermal, bioenergy, and wind energy.

What’s more, in March of this year, Mexico became the first developing nation to formally promise to cut its carbon emissions, a potential milestone in efforts to reach a worldwide agreement on tackling climate change. Together with the United States’ commitment to cut emissions by 26-28%, Mexico’s commitment to a 25% reduction by 2030 builds on legislation passed by the nation’s congress to reduce emissions and generate more electricity from renewable sources.

With these developments in mind, the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute is delighted to host Mexico’s Under Secretary of Energy Planning and Transition, Leonardo Beltrán, who will speak on both Mexico’s energy reform process and the prospects for renewable energy and carbon gas emissions reductions. At the same time, we are proud to launch our new publication “Renewable Energy in Mexico’s Northern Border Region,” which analyzes the current renewable energy situation in the north of the country and potential opportunities to engage in a productive relationship with the private and the public sectors in the United States. Jonathan Pinzón, one of the report’s authors and the Chief Operating Officer of GreenMomentum, will present the report’s findings and discuss the current state of renewables in Mexico. Our event will also feature comments from Hector Castro Vizcarra, the Embassy’s Minister for Energy Affairs.


Leonardo Beltrán Rodríguez
Under Secretary of Energy Planning and Transition, Mexico’s Ministry of Energy

Hector Castro Vizcarra
Representative of the Secretariat of Energy (SENER) to the Embassy of Mexico in the United States

Jonathan Pinzón
Chief Operating Officer, GreenMomentum


Duncan Wood
Director, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

Click here for more information.

A live webcast will be available here

Mexico: Latin America’s Renewable Energy Renaissance

2/9/2015 Power Finance & Risk

environment - energy - light bulb with paddy riceIn contrast to unpredictable renewable energy policies in the U.S. and the European Union, Mexico has emerged as a lightning rod for renewable energy investment. As renewable energy investors assess changing global opportunities, Mexico continues to offer numerous stable investment prospects. Mexico’s investment-grade credit rating provides potential investors one of the few high-grade investment environments in Latin America. Additionally, the sharp reduction in contracted large-scale renewable energy opportunities in the U.S. and Europe has catalyzed recent interest in Mexico.

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Abengoa Signs 1.4 Billion-Euro Syndicated Loan to Refinance Debt

10/01/14 Bloomberg 

globe - blueAbengoa is the biggest developer of solar-thermal power plants and is building the El Zapotillo aqueduct in Mexico, one of the world’s largest water projects. Its projects include renewable energy, power transmission and waste-to-energy plants. Its $721 million yieldco was listed in the U.S. in June.

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California Leading on Emissions as Brown Signs New Laws

09/23/14 Bloomberg 

EarthBrown signed a bilateral pact with Mexico in July to boost cross-border investments in renewable energy, biofuels and other clean energy technologies. Last year, he traveled to China, the world’s top carbon polluter, and signed an agreement to bolster climate-change cooperation.

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