The Mexican government’s new national electricity program, announced this week, places an emphasis on hydroelectric generation, with an additional MXN20 billion (US$985 million) in investments announced to make improvements to 60 hydroelectric plants.
According to BNamericas, the announcement of the new investment, approval of which will be sought from congress, comes as confirmation of the long-standing statements of the new government that it would be investing heavily in hydroelectric energy.
According to state-owned power utility Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE), renovation of hydroelectric plants could increase the country’s generation capacity by 26%, which would imply an additional 3,300 MW of capacity.
In 2017, about 17% of Mexico’s energy was generated by hydroelectric plants, versus 37% from combined cycle facilities, 17% from conventional thermoelectric, 7% from coal, 7% from gas turbines, 6% from wind, 3% from internal combustion and fluidized bed combustion, 3% from bioenergy and efficient co-generation, 2% from nuclear energy and 2% from geothermal/solar/generated distribution and other technologies.
Despite the emphasis on hydroelectric energy, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that no new hydroelectric plants were planned. He also stated that no old electricity plants would be retired.
During the presentation of the plan, Lopez Obrador said that self-sufficiency in energy generation should be Mexico’s goal, which is understood to be a situation in which CFE is no longer purchasing electricity.
The president added that the dependence of CFE on electricity bought during auctions would not be solved in the short-term and that it would have to prove that it can compete with private suppliers in terms of efficiency.