This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Despite challenges at the federal level to develop new renewable energy projects described in the above section, the renewable energy sector in Mexico remains important due to the potential that Mexico has to develop renewable energy projects. The country has high solar radiation, wind potential, and some limited demonstrations of biofuel, hydrogen, and geothermal capabilities. Harnessing this potential could help to diversify the energy supply, lower the cost of electricity, and support companies that have strict sustainable objectives and are committed to lowering their carbon footprint. The U.S. Commercial Service Mexico has seen increased participation from both Mexican companies seeking U.S. renewable energy technologies and U.S. firms traveling to Mexico for trade shows and to expand operations in the country. Finally, even as the Mexican administration slows the development of renewables, the country’s energy demand continues to grow at a rate of about 3.4% annually, and existing fossil resources will prove insufficient without increased capacity development through renewables.
In 2021, the Mexican government’s energy development plan reported power generation in Mexico accounted for 328,597.98 GWh, of which 29.5 percent was generated with clean energy sources, including wind, solar photovoltaic, bioenergy, efficient cogeneration, geothermal, hydroelectric, and nuclear power. In 2020, the installed capacity of Mexico’s clean energy plants, such as hydroelectric, geothermal, wind, photovoltaic, and bioenergy, was 29,512 MW and by December 2021 there was an installed capacity of 30,812 MW, which represented an increase of 4.4percent with respect to 2020, mainly coming from hydro, wind, and photovoltaic solar power plants. According to a spring 2022 report by the National Renewable Energy Labs, Mexico’s large and diverse renewable energy resource base could support significant growth in clean generation capacity. National technical potential includes 24,918 GW of solar photovoltaics, 3,669 GW of wind, 2.5 GW of conventional geothermal, and 1.2 GW of additional capacity from existing hydropower facilities – all combined, enough to meet the country’s electricity needs a hundred times over.
However, in the past three years, the electrical power sector has faced several policy changes under the current administration, and those changes have altered the dynamics of the electricity market for private sector participants and have affected the confidence for future investments.
The priority of the government is to strengthen the role of the state-owned Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), so it can become, as in the past, Mexico’s primary supplier of electricity. Private companies have faced challenges in investing in large-scale renewable energy projects due to permitting delays and policy initiatives such as the 2021 Electric Industry Law, which had the objective of establishing a dispatch system to give priority to CFE’s plants, among other changes. Nevertheless, companies remain interested in participating in the conversation to facilitate and increase opportunities in this sector in Mexico in the coming years, as they see the advantages to utilize the latest renewable energy and energy storage technologies available to reduce electricity costs, to increase efficiency, and to protect the environment.
Development Program of the National Electrical System 2022-2036
On June 1, 2022, the Secretariat of Energy (Secretaría de Energía or SENER) published the 2022-2036 Development Program of the National Electrical System (Programa de Desarrollo del Sistema Eléctrico Nacional or PRODESEN). This planning document addresses electricity generation, transmission, distribution, and commercialization of the National Electric System (Sistema Eléctrico Nacional or SEN). The 2022 PRODESEN emphasizes the need for the development of CFE’s power plants, therefore, in the mid-term the focus would be to incorporate new combined cycle plants, to rehabilitate and modernize existing hydroelectric plants, and to potentially equip others that already have hydraulic installation.
According to the PRODESEN, the Mexican Secretariat of Energy (SENER) intends to direct the planning of the National Electric System, guaranteeing the supply of electrical energy in accordance with the requirements of national development by coordinating the different sources of generation of the CFE and private sources.
In terms of climate change and emissions reduction, SENER proposes to increase power generation with clean, renewable energy sources. In addition, PRODESEN emphasizes Mexico’s multiple commitments to sustainable development with special attention to the Paris Agreement, indicating that Mexico ratified in 2016 its commitment to maintain the average global temperature under 1.5ºC and to reduce greenhouse emissions. In addition, PRODESEN highlights the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. In this PRODESEN, SENER also provides a status of where Mexico stands to comply with its goal to generate 35 percent of electricity from clean energy sources by 2024, as outlined in Mexico’s General Climate Change Law. Until 2021, power generation from clean energy sources accounted for 29.5 percent of the electricity.
Renewable Energy Opportunities
Large industrial and commercial sectors represent most of the electricity demand. Industrial manufacturing, operations, and commercial activities have been impacted by high electricity rates. Since the energy reform (2013-2014), the industrial sector has expressed high interest in renewable energy projects. However, there is recognition among the private sector that challenges to successfully developing and participating in these projects remain, including permit delays, transmission constraints, policy changes, and lack of return on investment. It is important to note that small-scale projects face lesser permitting hurdles than larger projects. Despite these challenges, the industrial and commercial sectors are an important area of opportunity for U.S. exports. These companies are continuously looking for technological alternatives to increase energy efficiency and reduce costs.
Most recently, there is an increasing interest of companies and associations in Mexico to learn more about green hydrogen technologies and how they can be utilized in the future to increase efficiency and lower the cost of electricity. The initial conversations in the business community are starting to take place. Although, there is still work to be done to open up opportunities for green hydrogen projects in Mexico, the U.S. Commercial Service is already tracking U.S. hydrogen companies, in order to connect them as early as possible with opportunities in Mexico as they become available in the coming years.
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. Although there has not been any official announcement, in the Development Program of the National Electrical System (PRODESEN), there is a section that provides an overview of electric mobility and transportation. Mexico has developed a strong capacity for manufacturing and logistics of the automotive industry, which would be relevant to develop and achieve a National Mobility Strategy. The PRODESEN mentions a long-term scenario to have 4.9 million of electric vehicles, a 32.3% of the commercialized vehicles (light, cargo, and buses), by 2036.
Based on continued interest demonstrated at trade events and published projects, the U.S. Commercial Service Mexico determines that the renewable energy sub-sectors with the most potential for U.S. exporters are small-scale wind, solar, and hydro. Additionally, while many large-scale renewable projects have been stalled, small scale distributed generation opportunities present a new niche for many U.S. businesses. Incentives for on-site distributed generation projects include the rising cost of power, a desire for increased energy reliability, and a need to meet internal corporate decarbonization goals as a component of ESG programs. Distributed generation project permits can take a few weeks for approval; while larger projects can take months or years and often face uphill political battles for approval.
Other relevant technologies that offer potential include energy storage, solar heating, other forms of small-scale distributed generation, and electromobility.
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 to explore opportunities in the Mexican market.
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 Hydrogen Association
Mexican Hydro Power Association (AMEXHIDRO)
National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy (CONUEE).
- Hydrovision International, July 14-22, 2022, Denver, CO
- RE+, September 19-22, 2022, Anaheim, CA
- Distributech International, February 7-9, 2023, San Diego, CA
- Mexico Wind Power, March 1-2, 2023, 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