Mexico blocks private renewable energy expansion
Earlier this year, Mexico’s National Center of Energy Control (CENACE) issued a controversial directive limiting the amount of renewable energy that could be generated in the country.
The order suspended licences for renewable energy plants set to begin operational testing after May 3. Two weeks later, the Energy Secretariat (SENER) issued another policy blocking investment in clean energy. The moves are the latest in a series of policies that prioritise Mexico’s national energy company, CFE.
Now, investors, energy companies and consumer protection groups are pushing back.
Greenpeace Mexico, along with the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA), achieved a temporary suspension of the CENACE agreement in mid-May. In early July, the Supreme Court suspended SENER’s May 15 agreement following two complaints: one on behalf of the Federal Commission for Economic Competition (COFECE); the other on behalf of the state of Tamaulipas.
And in August, a federal judge ordered the definitive suspension of both agreements, which will now be examined in a higher court, a process that could take months.
As a result of these suspensions, neither the CENACE nor SENER directives remain in effect. CENACE is not permitted to limit the quantities of clean energy generation, nor block operational testing of clean energy plants, as per its directive, nor is the SENER able to block further investment in the sector.
The policy comes as energy use in the country has decreased by 10% as a result of Covid-19 prevention measures. The agreement lists as justification several incidents of failures in the energy system, arguing that the measures will keep the electricity supply as safe and reliable as possible, in the context of the current health emergency.