Mexico has been in the news for being the first developing country to submit an emissions reduction target for 2030… but it also watered down its short-term renewable energy target.
The Mexican government targets 5% electricity from renewable energy sources by 2018. This is substantially lower than the 8.2% target proposed in draft policies issued last month. The target is part of a national energy plan released by Mexico’s energy secretary.
This short-term plan certainly looks insufficient to take Mexico to its medium-term target of 2024. By the middle of next decade, Mexico wants to procure 24% of its electricity from renewable energy sources. Going from 5% in 2018 to 24% in 2024 will require quite a leap.
One way or another, Mexico will have to make significant investments in the low-carbon and renewable energy infrastructure if it intends to achieve its stated emissions reduction targets. According to the intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) Mexico submitted, it plans to achieve peak greenhouse gas emissions by 2026, and reduce them by 22% by 2030 compared to “business-as-usual.”
During 2011, renewable energy sources contributed almost 7% to the total energy production in Mexico. Biomass was the leading contributor, providing nearly 4% of the 219.5 million tons of oil equivalent energy produced in 2011. Hydropower and geothermal projects provided about 1.5% each while contribution from solar and wind energy projects was less than 0.15% combined. Of course, energy production and consumption are two separated matters… and electricity production and consumption are subsets of those.
Over the last several months, leading renewable energy project developers have shown interest in Mexico. Spanish wind energy giant Gamesa has had a long and successful presence in the country and has plans to further expand its base there. US-based Pattern Energy signed an agreement with Mexican construction company Cemex to develop 1 GW renewable energy capacity over the next 5 years.