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Waste and Biogas: Opportunities for Renewable Gas Sources

By Ana Laura Ludlow - ENGIE
VP Chief Government Affairs & Sustainability Officer


Ana Laura Ludlow By Ana Laura Ludlow | VP Chief Government Affairs & Sustainability Officer - Fri, 11/17/2023 - 11:00

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Mexico is at a critical juncture in its search for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly energy matrix. In this context, the use of biogas from organic waste emerges as a promising solution that not only addresses energy and environmental challenges, but also offers specific benefits for the country. This technology not only helps reduce reliance on fossil fuels, but also contributes to strengthening the local economy, improving the quality of life of communities and responsible waste management, making Mexico an inspiring example of energy sustainability in the region.

Biogas is a renewable energy source produced by the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter, such as food and agricultural waste. In Mexico, given our diverse and resource-rich environment, this technology represents an unparalleled opportunity to take advantage of our abundant organic waste and turn it into a valuable source of clean and sustainable energy. 

Mexico has vast agriculture and livestock farming, which means there is a constant source of organic waste that can be used to generate biogas, reducing the need to rely on fossil fuels and aligning the country with climate change mitigation goals, which grants us a great opportunity.

The Social Impact of Biogas in Mexico

The utilization of biogas from waste in communities has a significant and beneficial impact in several aspects. The creation of local employment is one of the most notable results of this activity, opening job opportunities ranging from the collection and transportation of organic waste to the operation and maintenance of biogas facilities. This job creation contributes to strengthening the local economy and reducing the unemployment rate.

Moreover, income diversification is an important consequence. Farmers and ranchers who participate in biogas generation can expand their sources of income. This stabilizes rural household incomes and increases the economic resilience of communities.

In rural areas, the implementation of these technologies directly benefits women, as they have historically been responsible for domestic care. In urban environments, energy management can be more complex, but biogas offers women greater flexibility and autonomy, as they can take advantage of this renewable energy source for carrying out various daily tasks, such as cooking, heating water and providing lighting. Furthermore, by reducing reliance on conventional energy sources, such as firewood or propane gas, rural women can enjoy greater energy security and a reduced workload associated with firewood collection.

Biogas generation also provides access to a clean, sustainable energy source in communities that often lack electricity. This improves quality of life by enabling lighting, cooking and charging of electronic devices, reducing reliance on polluting or expensive energy sources, such as diesel or kerosene.

Taken together, these impacts demonstrate that the use of biogas from waste not only promotes sustainability and a reduced environmental footprint, but also directly benefits communities by creating jobs, improving quality of life and contributing to local economic development.

Energy Regulation to Support Decarbonization

Mexico has taken significant steps in developing energy regulations that have the potential to support its decarbonization commitments and contemporaneously, generate opportunities for green gas, such as biogas. These regulations are crucial to address the energy and environmental challenges the country faces.

One of the most critical milestones in this regard is Mexico’s Energy Transition Law, which was enacted in 2015. This law sets ambitious targets for the transition to a cleaner and more sustainable energy matrix, with the goal of 35% of the country’s energy generation coming from renewable sources by 2024, and 50% by 2050. These objectives are fundamental to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and complying with Mexico’s international commitments on climate change.

Another key aspect is the Wholesale Electricity Market (MEM), which allows the participation of renewable energy generators and distributes electricity efficiently throughout the country. This platform promotes the integration of renewable energy sources, including biogas, into the domestic power system, which is fundamental for the decarbonization and diversification of the energy matrix.

These regulations and reforms provide a solid framework for the development of biogas generation projects from organic waste in Mexico. They facilitate investment in the infrastructure and technology needed to capture and use biogas, as well as the integration of this energy source into the electricity market. In doing so, Mexico not only fulfills its environmental commitments, but also opens up opportunities for investment in green energy projects, job creation and improved energy security.

Unique Opportunities

In conclusion, Mexico is in a strategic position to address its energy and environmental challenges through the implementation of biogas from organic waste. This promising technology not only responds to the growing need for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly energy matrix, but also generates positive impacts in several areas.

In a global context where sustainability and emissions reduction are imperative, biogas from waste emerges as a versatile and beneficial solution for Mexico, with the potential to transform not only its energy matrix, but also the quality of life of its communities and the national economic landscape. This is the path to a more sustainable, resilient and environmentally committed Mexico.


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Photo by:   Ana Laura Ludlow

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