Renewable energy is under siege in Mexico, say experts

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
While the cost of energy in Mexico is at an all-time high, the federal government is doing all it can to shut out competition from renewable energies. Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

The decision to refuse the appeal of 10 large-scale renewable energy projects across Mexico has left environmentalists and investors aghast.

But industry analysts say that the Mexican government’s posture comes as no surprise.

“It’s become evident that all that the president cares about here is control of the energy sector, even if it means more greenhouse emissions and more expensive energy,” said Jonathan Ruiz Torre of El Financiero. 

The president has even gone as far as calling for the shutdown of existing projects, such as when he called for the dismantlement of a large solar panel array in Aguascalientes.

“All these people care about is profit, and these kinds of private energy projects come at the cost of our great national institutions like Pemex,” said López Obrador. 

The words of the president also came at a curious time, as they coincided with his ordering an end to the investigation of corruption allegations at Pemex. 

Additionally, Sen. Xóchitl Gálvez has requested an audit of contracts between Pemex and several of its contractors, but says she is “being blocked at every turn.”

Earlier: CFE not happy with the growth of solar panels in Yucatán

Two of the canceled projects were large wind farms to be built in Yucatán in the municipalities of Panabá and Suciá. 

Solar panels have become more and more common in Yucatán over the past few years, as their return on investment continues to improve. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

But at the state level, the government in Yucatán seems more than keen on moving forward with sustainable projects, or at least on creating that appearance. 

Last week, Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal announced that the state would be investing in a new fleet of electric tram-like buses to help improve mobility in Mérida and its suburbs. 

The governor made a point of mentioning that these new public transit units would be emission-free.

But as was widely commented on social media, this would only be true if the energy used to charge the vehicles was generated by green energy, rather than simply connecting to the CFE grid. 

“If you really want to call these trams “green,” then the government will have to build its own solar charging stations. If not, it will just be another sad example of “greenwashing,” said Susana Pérez-Medina, who has authored several papers on sustainability in Yucatán.

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