- Category: Press Releases
19 Feb 2013
- Published on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 03:42
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Mexico City, January 3 2013 - Mexico is one of the world´s major oil producers, but not all that glitters is black. Its petro-whealth is in trouble; oil fields are running dry, and there are little prospects of relief in the near future.
Mexico´s constitutionally rooted state oil company Petróleos de México (Pemex) controls all oil and gas resources. However, Pemex isn´t allowed to engage in contracts with foreign partners sharing risk and profits, causing it to be unable to change the tide. Should the current situation continue, Mexico could become a net oil-importer by 2017. Moreover, any change to the status of Pemex is politically difficult to achieve.
Generating electricity in Mexico does not depend heavily on oil, as over 50% of all power is generated by natural gas. However, a recent research note by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, whose Head of Latin America Research and Analysis Maria Gabriela Da Rocha Oliveira is one of the speakers on February´s El Futuro Solar: México conference organized by SolarPlaza, indicated that, despite the fact that current gas reserves in Mexico could sustain the current levels of gas-fired electricity generation for almost 300 years, 15 to 20% of Mexico´s total gas consumption is imported. Some 75% of the imports come from the neighboring United States.
According to Bloomberg, the beforementioned is due to different market structures in both countries; gas production in the US is competetive, whereas in Mexico all gas and petroleum assets are property of Pemex.
Renewable energy can help lift that burden, and solar power in particular has a very promising future. Even though, as of early 2012, no utility-scale solar power generation has yet been installed in Mexico and solar energy is still not profitable enough to compete with natural gas yet, PV is on the verge of making a breakthrough in the Mexican energy market.
Proof of those positive developments is not just the fact that prices of PV have fallen sharply in recent years, but also the fact that ambitious new projects are on the way. The Comisión Federal de Electricidad, Mexico´s monopolistic public utility, is already building two solar plants (scheduled to generate 12MW and 40MW respectively), to be operated by Abengoa Solar from 2013 on. Moreover, another nine projects have been either announced or commisioned. Combined they are expected to raise total PV capacity to 300MW, with prospects only improving in the short run.
Analysts expect the costs of leading solar technologies to plummet even further. Bloomberg New Energy Finance, for instance, projects utility-scale solar power generation to pare with gas by the end of the decade. Currently, overnight costs of PV plants amount to some USD 1,4 million per 50MW capacity, a figure which is expected to have dropped some 32% by 2020.
If current trends continue, PV can soon become more attractive in some areas over gas and other renewable energy sources such as wind and geothermal. It is exactly that optimism that El Futuro Solar: México is hoping to convey in February.
El Futuro Solar: Mexico will be held in Mexico City on February 28. Gabriela da Rocha Oliviera will be joined by Robert Pfatischer (CEO of Meteocontrol) and Álvaro Lentz-Herrera (president of ANES, the Mexican national solar energy association ) and others.
Solarplaza.com is the independent global platform for knowledge, trade and events for the photovoltaicsolar energy (PV) industry. Solarplaza is based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and has already organized over 30 conferences and trade missions, including in Greece, United States, Taiwan, India, China, Italy, Germany, South Africa and Spain.