Mexico's CFE expands renewables commitments amid big natgas push

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Mexico's public utility CFE will greatly expand its renewable portfolio beyond the US$1bn Puerto Peñasco solar park in Sonora state, according to its top executive.

CEO Manuel Bartlett told the lower house of congress that the state-owned company would be involved in the construction of five new solar projects across the country, and that it would make inroads into clean energy supply through the construction of a new 25MW geothermal plant.

While the executive gave few details about the announcement, he said CFE was on the verge of signing an agreement with private sector players to carry out the renewable expansion, which will likely include battery storage capacity. He also said the company was looking at building a new wind farm in the Tehuantepec Isthmus in the country's southeast.

The company's administration has long decried the growth of wind and solar generation on the grounds that it jeopardizes system stability. According to Bartlett, however, battery storage capacity will allow it to sidestep the issue, which the current administration has used to limit the buildout of private renewables projects across Mexico.

CFE has also established a research and development program to study the possible construction of green hydrogen production facilities, he said.

"We have never stopped analyzing how to transition away from conventional generation," the CEO said. "But the world is yet to achieve the technological capacity to make it happen in the short term: to say anything different is to be a demagogue."

CFE is currently carrying out a US$9bn investment plan to add 9GW of new capacity by 2024, Bartlett said, by overhauling its aging hydroelectric generation park, building the 25MW second phase of its Los Humeros geothermal project in Puebla state, constructing the first half of 1GW Puerto Peñasco solar facility, and building 15 gas-powered thermal generators totaling 7.4GW of new capacity.

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