Mexico’s Insurmountable Climate Challenge

The population of the United Mexican States (Mexico) is approximately 129.29 million people[1]. In 2018, 100% of the people in this northern most country in Latin America had access to electricity[2].

In 2018, Mexico’s economy was ranked 15th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP)[3]. The country’s economy is heavily dependent on the export of electronics, automobiles, oil, plastic, silver, fruits, and vegetables.

In 2016, Mexico signed the Paris Climate Agreement[4], committing to a 25% reduction in greenhouse gases from a business-as-usual scenario by 2030. The country further pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emission intensity per unit of GDP by approximately 40% from 2013 to 2030.

In December 2018, Andrés Manuel López Obrador was elected the President of Mexico. The energy policies of the current administration are to advance the interests of the state-owned electric utility, Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) and state-owned national oil company, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

In 2018, the state-owned utility, CCFE utility used petroleum (44.9%), natural gas (37.5%), renewable energy (9.1%), coal (6.6%), and nuclear energy (1.9%) to generate electricity in the country[5]. Wind, biomass, and solar are the primary sources of renewable energy in Mexico.

CFE has recently announced plans to build a 350 MW solar park at a site approximately 15 miles southeast of the city of Mexicali, Mexico. The solar park will be built in two stages – Cerro Prieto II will have a capacity of 150 MW and is scheduled to be completed in 2023 and Cerro Prieto III will have a capacity of 200 MW and is scheduled to be completed by 2029.

Mexico’s energy demands are expected to continue to steadily  grow due to an improving economy and growing population. The state-owned electric utility, CFE intends to rely heavily on domestic oil and gas production to generate electricity for Mexico.

Mexico’s current energy policies have created an insurmountable challenge to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Mexico’s continued reliance on fossil fuels will also contribute to the further degradation of the county’s already toxic air quality.


Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”


[1] Mexico Population (2020) –  October 8, 2020

[2] Mexico – The World Bank Group

[3] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[4] Carbon Brief – “2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[5] International Energy Agency – Mexico

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