Mexico - Country Commercial Guide
Renewable Energy

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-09-02

This section includes a market overview and trade data for the renewable energy sector in Mexico.

Overview

In 2019, the Mexican government’s energy development plan reported that, of the 317,820 GWh (gigawatt hours) of power generated in Mexico, 23.46 percent was produced by clean energy sources. These include wind, solar photovoltaic, bioenergy, efficient cogeneration, geothermal, hydroelectric, and nuclear power. In 2020, power generation totaled 312,347 GWh 6,628 GWh, of which 27.8 percent was produced using clean energy sources.

In 2019, the installed capacity of Mexico’s clean energy plants, such as hydroelectric, geothermal, wind, photovoltaic, and bioenergy, was 26,900 MW ,582 MW.  In 2020 that capacity had increased by 9.7 percent with respect to the previous year to 29,506 MW ,743 MW, mainly coming from growth in wind and photovoltaic plants.

According to an International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) publication, Mexico has significant and diverse resource potential and could attract large-scale investments to diversify its energy supply. If market conditions are favorable, Mexico could continue to attract investment for renewable energy projects, as seen in three long-term auctions that took place between 2015 and 2018, when the electricity market framework created after a major constitutional energy reform (2013-2014) incentivized growth in this sector. This reform focused on increasing investment and growth by creating a wholesale electricity market to facilitate competition and reduce costs. The energy reform also aimed to increase electricity coverage and stimulate the use of clean energy.

The electrical power sector has faced several policy changes under the current administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, which are altering the dynamics of the electricity market for private sector participants. The government is implementing policies to encourage the Federal Electricity Commission (Comisión Federal de Electricidad or CFE) to become, as in the past, Mexico’s primary supplier of electricity. Private companies are facing more challenges to invest in large-scale renewable energy projects due to permitting delays and the new Electric Industry Law, which establishes a dispatch system that gives priority to CFE’s plants.

Development Program of the National Electrical System 2020–2034

On June 30, 2021, the Secretariat of Energy (Secretaría de Energía or SENER) published the 2021–2035 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 2020 PRODESEN emphasizes the need for the reactivation of CFE by increasing the number of its power plants. For instance, in the medium-term, there is a plan to construct new combined cycle power plants, to rehabilitate and modernize existing hydroelectric plants, and to potentially equip others that already have hydraulic installation.

According to SENER, the Mexican Government intends to direct the planning of the SEN, guaranteeing the supply of electrical energy in accordance with the requirements of national development by coordinating the different sources of generation from CFE and private producers.

In terms of climate change and emissions reduction, SENER proposes to increase power generation with clean renewable energy sources. In addition, the PRODESEN emphasizes Mexico’s multiple commitments to sustainable development. Special attention is paid in the document to the Paris Agreement, announced on November 4, 2016, in which Mexico assumed its commitment to maintain the average global temperature increase by below 2ºC, and to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Additionally, in the PRODESEN, SENER highlights that, as of 2020, power generation from clean energy sources accounted for 27.8 percent of total electricity produced in Mexico. Mexico’s General Climate Change Law sets a goal for Mexico to generate 35 percent of its electricity from clean energy sources by 2024.

Mexico’s New Electricity Market Rules

On April 29, 2020, Mexico’s National Energy Control Center (Centro Nacional de Control de Energía or CENACE) announced a Resolution to guarantee the efficiency, quality, reliability, continuity and security of the SEN. According to this Resolution, the intermittency of wind and solar plants affects the reliability, quality, and continuity of the system. Therefore, CENACE suspended the pre-operative tests from wind and solar plants. According to recommendations published by Mexico’s competition regulator, the Federal Economic Competition Commission (Comisión Federal de Competencia Económica or COFECE), the actions indicated in CENACE’s resolution could run contrary to free competition and could increase electricity rates. It is unclear when and how these actions will be implemented. In addition, CENACE’s agreement calls into question power generation from wind and solar plants that are currently operating and that typically cost less than conventional power plants.

On May 15, 2020, SENER published a Resolution in Mexico’s Official Gazette regarding the reliability, safety, continuity and quality policy for the national electric system. This includes power generation, transmission, distribution and commercialization of the SEN, as well as the operation of the Wholesale Electric Market. Private sector participants believe that this policy will allow CENACE to dispatch costly CFE-owned plants ahead of more economically efficient private renewable generation. Many companies have filed legal injunctions against the policy.

On February 1, 2021, Mexican President López Obrador submitted a decree to reform the Electric Industry Law (Ley de la Industria Eléctrica). This law was approved by the Mexican Congress on February 23, 2021 and by the Mexican Senate on March 2, 2021. It was officially published in Mexico’s Official Gazette on March 9, 2021. However, on the same day it was published, the law was challenged in court and a judge granted a temporary suspension. On March 10, the Court issued a provisional suspension covering all the participants in the electricity market. On March 18, the Court granted a definitive suspension until there is a resolution of the injunctions filed by the companies. On March 24, SENER published the suspension of the law in the Official Gazette, as requested by the Court.

Mexico’s New Electric Industry Law

Mexico’s new Electric Industry Law, published on March 9, 2021, includes the following objectives:

  • To modify the electricity dispatch system to favor power generation from CFE’s plants;
  • To grant permits in accordance with planning criteria of the SEN, which are established by SENER;
  • To establish that the granting of the Clean Energy Certificates (CEL) will not depend on the property or date of commercial operations of power generation plants;
  • To eliminate the obligation of CFE’s Basic Electricity Service to buy electricity from auctions;
  • To obligate the Energy Regulatory Commission (Comisión Reguladora de Energía or CRE) to ban self-supply permits that were obtained by acts that are constituted as legal fraud; and
  • To revise the legacy and profitably of government commitments to energy capacity contracts.
  • The U.S. Commercial Service Mexico is closely following policy developments and their impact on current and future business opportunities in the electricity sector for U.S. exporters.

Renewable Energy Opportunities

Another important element for renewable energy development in Mexico expected to contribute to emission reductions commitments is electromobility. The López Obrador Administration 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, the PRODESEN includes a section that provides an overview of electric mobility and transportation. Mexico has developed a strong capacity for manufacturing and logistics in the automotive industry and recent investment announcements from auto manufacturers for electric vehicles would be relevant to develop and achieve a National Mobility Strategy. In addition, Mexico currently has some public transportation systems in Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey,

CFE has been working on the deployment of electric charging stations for some time. In early 2020, CFE made an announcement for the Service, Installation, Supply, Commissioning and Integral Support of Electric Station Modules for Recharging Electric Vehicles in the Mexico’s Official Gazette. Private companies have announced investments in charging infrastructure, but additional investments will be needed.

At the local level, in May 2019, the Mexico City Government presented their Solar City initiative (Ciudad Solar). Solar energy is the renewable energy source with the highest potential in Mexico City, with an annual average value of 5.7 kWh/m2/day (kilowatt-hours per square meter per day). Ciudad Solar includes, several small- to medium-scale solar projects, such as photovoltaic roofs in public buildings, a program for small- and medium-sized companies, and training. The Solar City initiative is aligned with Mexico City’s goal to reduce 30 percent of contaminant emissions from mobile sources by 2024.

Leading Sub-Sectors

In January 2020, SENER published its Energy Transition Strategy to Promote the Use of Clean Fuels and Technologies in the Official Gazette, which will be the guiding document for medium- and long-term clean energy obligations. This document outlines the administration’s objective to base the energy sector on clean technology that promotes productivity, sustainable development, and social equality by 2050.

The renewable energy sub-sectors with the most potential for U.S. exporters are small-scale wind, solar, and hydro. Other relevant technologies that offer potential include energy storage, distributed generation and electromobility.

Opportunities

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.

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)

Events

Solar Power Mexico, Mexico City (hybrid)
Solar Power International, New Orleans, Louisiana

Contacts

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

Claudia Salgado

Commercial Specialist

U.S. Commercial Service—Mexico City

Tel: +52 (55) 5080-2000 ext. 5224

Claudia.Salgado@trade.gov