THE PANDEMIC has given environmentalists some cause to cheer. Demand for fossil fuels has plunged. Dispatches of solar and wind energy are up a bit.
THE PANDEMIC has given environmentalists some cause to cheer. Demand for fossil fuels has plunged. Dispatches of solar and wind energy are up a bit. In Mexico the weather is bright and breezy but the mood in the renewables industry is anything but. Instead of taking advantage of the pandemic to speed up the shift from oil to renewable energy, the country’s populist president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is doing roughly the opposite.
On May 15th Mexico’s energy ministry published rules for the national grid, bypassing the normal process of consultation. One orders its controller, CENACE, to choose security over “economic efficiency” when deciding which power to dispatch. Another increases “operational reserves”, backup plants that must run at all times. Both rules disadvantage renewable power and give priority to dirtier, more expensive energy from plants run by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), says Julio Valle of the Mexican Wind Energy Association.
These are the latest in a series of blows to Mexico’s renewable-energy industry. The fourth round of auctions for permits to supply renewable energy to the grid, scheduled for late 2018, was cancelled by the López Obrador administration, which had recently taken office. Last month CENACE said it would suspend the inspections that solar and wind farms must undergo to begin operating. All this has unnerved…