MORENA is rushing the new energy reform vote in the congressional Energy and Constitutional commissions with the goal to vote on the initiative in two weeks. Meanwhile, opinions from MORENA member Ricardo Monreal about modifications to the bill increase the uncertainty encircling the reform. Furthermore, the solar power plant at Mexico City’s Central Market started its construction phase. In other news, the US Trade Representative and Ambassador continue to pressure the Mexican government regarding the energy reform.
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The parliamentary groups of the MORENA, PT and PVEM coalition agreed to present the ruling on President López Obrador's energy reform. The Energy and Constitutional Issues commissions will present the ruling on April 11 and hope that the reform can be voted through on April 14. The current legislative period ends on April 30 and MORENA wants to ensure the approval of the reform in both chambers before it ends. However, there have been no negotiations with the opposition to assure the votes required for the two thirds majority required.
If approved by the Chamber of Deputies, the reform would also have to pass in the Senate. However, the opposition has remained firm against the reform. Ricardo Monreal, Coordinator of the MORENA party in the Senate, announced that he aims to convince the opposition to vote in favor but acknowledged that modifications will be necessary to achieve the required support. Monreal has been one of the MORENA leaders most willing to negotiate changes to the reform.
With 98 votes in favor, the Senate approved the agreement for cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy between Mexico and the US. With the collaboration, Mexico would have access to cutting-edge technologies and knowledge. The agreement entered negotiations in 2016 and was signed between both nations on May 7, 2018. Mexico already has nuclear cooperation agreements with other countries. However, this is the first with its main trading partner. The agreement's priorities are to strengthen cooperation for the sustainable and safe development of nuclear energy.
The installation of the photovoltaic solar farm on the roofs of Mexico City’s Central Market, one of the largest market spaces in the world, has begun. The project involves 19.85ha of space, 22 warehouses and 36,000 PV modules, which will generate up to 25GWh/y. The first phase of the project will be carried out by Fortius Electromecánica. The Mexico City government expects the solar farm to be operational by December 2022.
The Office of the US Trade Representative in Mexico expressed its concern for what it considered to be an accelerated deterioration of energy policies in Mexico. During a virtual meeting with environmentalists and US business associations, Katherine Tai, US Trade Representative, warned that the promotion of the reform initiative can only negatively affect the national economy within the framework of USMCA.
During his speech at the 105th General Assembly of the American Chamber of Commerce Mexico, Ken Salazar, US Ambassador to Mexico, said that the success of economic integration between Mexico and the US should also be extended to other areas, such as energy, migration and security. He confirmed the difficulties that President López Obrador's energy reform brings to the bilateral relationship and emphasized that energy must be clean, reliable and affordable.
Israel Hurtado, President, Mexican Hydrogen Association, said that Mexico could generate more than 90,000 jobs in the hydrogen industry. Hurtado pointed out that Mexico can reduce hydrogen production costs by up to 64 percent thanks to its geographical location, renewable energy potential and USMCA. In addition, it would avoid the emission of 300 million tons of CO2 from 2021 to 2050.
Over the last year, Volkswagen’s (VW) Mexican arm has reported significant progress in its transition to renewable energy and the optimization of production processes to achieve higher environmental standards. Halts in automotive production could indicate future challenges for the German OEM but projections look toward a brighter future.