Will Mexico Make Big Strides Toward Renewable Energy?

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Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the front-runner ahead of Mexico’s July 1 presidential election, is among the candidates who have offered proposals to expand the use of renewable energy. // File Photo: López Obrador Campaign.

Discussion relating to the energy sector ahead of Mexico’s July 1 presidential election has focused mainly on front-runner Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s potential changes to the country’s oil sector reform. However, López Obrador, widely known as AMLO, also has offered several proposals regarding renewable energy, such as expanding hydro energy in order to eliminate imports of U.S. natural gas and introducing more electric vehicles. Meanwhile, AMLO’s closest competitor in the race, National Action Party presidential candidate Ricardo Anaya, has proposed setting pollution limits for businesses and incentivizing electric transportation and the use of solar energy by small- and medium-sized enterprises through fiscal stimulus. Do any of the candidates offer a better vision for Mexico’s renewable energy future? What economic realities does Mexico face when planning for the expansion of renewable energy, and will these proposals win support and attract necessary investment? How likely is it that the candidates’ policies will be implemented, and who would be the winners and losers if they are enacted?

Lisa Viscidi, member of the Energy Advisor board and director of the Energy, Climate Change & Extractive Industries Program at the Inter-American Dialogue: “Mexico has been a leader in international climate change negotiations—yet less than a quarter of its installed power capacity comes from renewable sources, well below the Latin American average of about 50 percent. AMLO has ambitious plans to increase renewable power generation from large hydroelectric dams and small, decentralized energy systems like residential solar projects. He also wants to see 100,000 electric cars on Mexican streets. Other candidates have also called for increased incentives for distributed energy and electric mobility. These are the right areas of focus to accelerate Mexico’s transition to low-carbon energy. But they will require the next government to…”

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