NREL identifies abundant renewable energy resources as key to Mexico’s clean energy ambitions

April 7, 2022 – The US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released a detailed report on the potential for clean energy development in Mexico. Mexico is rich in solar and wind resources and still has untapped geothermal and hydropower potential. The NREL Mexico Clean Energy Report concludes that in light of this potential and the low cost of renewable energy generation, Mexico is ideally positioned to become a clean energy powerhouse. According to the report, the rapid growth in renewable energy deployment could enable Mexico to reach its goal of 35% clean energy production by 2024, generate high levels of investment, increase access to energy, reduce costs for consumers and, together with other technical measures, improve the reliability and resilience of the Mexican electricity system.

“Mexico can be a clean energy powerhouse,” said NREL Lab Director Martin Keller, “and a critical part of maintaining North America’s competitive advantage in the world. Realizing this potential will require energy policies that facilitate private investment and support our joint clean energy, climate and supply chain efforts.

Among the key findings of the report:

  • Mexico’s large and diverse renewable energy resource base could support significant growth in clean generation capacity. The national technical potential includes 24,918 GW of solar photovoltaic, 3,669 GW of wind, 2.5 GW of conventional geothermal and 1.2 GW of additional capacity from existing hydroelectric installations – all combined, enough to cover a hundred times the country’s electricity needs.
  • Even in the short term, with sufficient private sector investment, Mexico could realize this potential quickly, bringing 15,257 MW of renewable energy online. With this investment, the cost of generating electricity could be significantly reduced, saving the national system US$1.1 billion, generating US$17 billion in new investment opportunities, create more than 72,000 jobs and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

The findings of this study underscore that private sector investment is essential for Mexico to meet its clean energy goals. The investments needed to realize these gains, however, would have a very low probability of occurring if changes were made to Mexico’s current legal, regulatory and electricity market frameworks, which would result in significant barriers to market entry. .

NREL Report Reinforces Critical Role Mexico Can Play as a Clean Energy Leader to Drive North American Competitiveness, a message that US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm expressed during her visit to Mexico in January 2022.

Read the full NREL report on Mexico’s clean energy potential at https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy22osti/82580.pdf

NREL is the US Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Department of Energy by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.