Renewable Energy Needs to Come FirstBy Kristelle Gutiérrez | Fri, 03/18/2022 - 08:48
While it is challenging to navigate the volatile energy market that the current political and climate crises have created, it is also essential to further the transition toward renewable energy use. Even though Mexico has made a commitment to raise its clean energy production to 35 percent by 2024, experts point out that both the government and the state utility CFE must improve efforts that will support reaching this goal.
The renewable energy transition seems to be the one key solution to climate change’s threat that energy experts across the world agree on. "Energy policy anywhere in the world should keep the fight against climate change at its core," said Leopoldo Rodríguez, CEO, Mexican Wind Energy Association (AMEE), in an interview with El Economista.
Leading energy associations have expressed this necessity for some quite time now. The National Solar Energy Association (ANES) has been a stellar proponent of the transition toward renewable energy for the past decades. On March 7, 2022, ANES released a statement emphasizing its continued efforts to contribute to Mexico’s energy self-sufficiency, also expressing its discomfort with new policies that kept renewable energy projects from succeeding. The association stated that the implementation of Clean Energy Certificates (CELs) in distributed generation (DG) processes was an important step to promote the growth of smaller-scale projects, as well as to create employment and continue developing renewable energy technology.
However, ANES also mentioned that due to the government’s proposed modifications to how CELs are assigned, CFE would be allowed to use its outdated power plants instead of developing new ones. This devalues the certificates and slows down investments for new renewable energy power plants. Although the concessions to CFE might not hamper DG in the short term, ANES concludes that this measure will stunt hundreds of other DG projects in the country. During Mexico Solar Summit, experts on solar energy agreed that short term profitability was not as relevant as it seemed in the sector.
Though CFE is betting on solar power plants as well as geothermal, hydroelectric and hydrogen developments, it also revealed that the development of combined cycle power plants will lead to an increase in imported natural gas consumption between 60 and 80 percent. This strategy will not contribute to fostering energy sovereignty and is not recommended by the Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE), since it would further establish CFE as a monopoly and increase polluting emissions by 65 percent up to 2024.