Lawmakers concerned over Mexico's shrinking renewables budget

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Mexico's renewable energy budget for 2015 has been reduced more than 60% from the current year, according to a lower house press release.

Opposition PAN party lawmaker Erick Marte Rivera Villanueva said the renewable energy sector should be a legislative priority after an energy ministry (Sener) official met with legislators to informe them that the approved federal budget for next year would only amount to 430mn pesos (US$31.5mn) from 1.83bn pesos in 2014.

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"It's of concern that this issue is not among the priorities of the legislative agenda," Rivera Villanueva was quoted as saying in the release. During a session of congress, he called on all parties to approve initiatives to promote renewables, including bio-gas.

He said that the lack of priority given to renewables is especially worrying given the drop in oil prices over recent months, which will have an effect on revenues channeled to the country's oil fund, from which a percentage is to be invested in renewable energy projects.

Mexico currently generates 14.9% of its energy from renewable sources and aims to increase that contribution to 35% by 2024.

The country's renewable energy sector received US$11bn in direct foreign investment during the 2003-13 decade, with wind power leading the charge, according to the 2014 IDF Intelligence report, an annual review of greenfield foreign direct investment (FDI).

Lawmaker Ramón Antonio Sampayo Ortíz (PAN), president of the chamber's climate change commission, said that Pemex and state utility CFE do not see the use of renewable energy as profitable, and called on Sener to establish goals for both firms to increase their efficiency using renewables.

Ruling PRI party lawmaker and climate change commission secretary Román Alfredo Padilla Fierro highlighted the fact that Mexico's states also consider renewable energy use as not profitable, and called for the promotion of green energy use in agriculture to lower farmers' production costs.

Agricultural processes contribute to the production of bio-fuels but require more investment to expand production and consumption of such fuels, and the country's energy reforms represent a big opportunity to achieve renewable energy use, lawmaker Javier Orihuela García of the left-leaning PRD party said.