Policy & Regulation

05 Oct 2021

Power Sector Reforms Launched in Mexico

05 Oct 2021  by World Nuclear News   

Mexico's state power concern, the Federal Electricity Commission (Comisión Federal de Electricidad, CFE), will become a vertically integrated state agency under reforms proposed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. CFE is the owner of the country's only nuclear power plant, Laguna Verde, which is on the Gulf coast.

In a press conference at Cuernavaca on 1 October, López Obrador said that reforms put to the Chamber of Deputies on 30 September would give CFE its rightful place in the power system. They would effectively undo reforms made in 2014 intended to increase competition.

Obrador said that private companies had been encouraged to enter the Mexican power market at CFE's expense. He said they had been able to generate power and make money while CFE power plants were required to be idle, and were able to use the national power grid for no cost.

If the new proposals are passed, CFE will become a vertically integrated state agency, said Secretary of the Interior Adán Augusto López Hernández: "The previous subsidiaries will disappear and there will be a single body in charge of the generation, distribution and administration of electrical energy."

"It is decided in this initiative," said Obrador, "that the CFE will have 54% of the market and 46% will be kept for private companies."

Hernández said: "It is about rescuing and strengthening the CFE, guaranteeing through it the energy security of the country, in this case the national electricity industry and making it possible to have electricity at a better cost for all Mexicans."

Mexico relies on natural gas for 60% of its electricity, based on an increasing amount of imports from the USA. Oil remains present in the power system at 10% of supply, whereas clean sources like nuclear and wind are both only 4%, according to the International Energy Agency.

In 2015, an energy transition law set a target of 35% of electricity to be from clean sources, including nuclear, by 2024 but firm plans for nuclear's contribution have never been announced.

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