Region/Countries: Mexico, North America Industry: Energy, Power and Control Date: December 2019

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Production from facilities regulated by the Federal Electricity Commission largely powers the domestic market, but competitors have been allowed to produce and sell energy since 2014.

Historically, Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) has been the body responsible for the generation, transmission, distribution and commercialization of electrical power in the country. It currently serves 39.5 million customers, of which almost 88% are residential.

Its power generation capacity comprises 215 generating plants with a total capacity of 54,374 MW, including independent producers that are authorized by law. Of the customers to whom electricity is supplied, 0.51% goes to the services sector, 9.8% to the commercial sector, 0.79% to industrial activity, 0.33% to the agricultural sector and 88.5% to residential users. Demand is increasing by 1.1 million applicants each year. The installed capacity combines all forms of generation: thermoelectric plants represent 55.6% of the generation, hydroelectric plants 30.4%, nuclear plants 3.8%, geothermal power 2.6% and wind power only 0.2%. The independent producers produce a high percentage relative to the other forms of generation, contributing 23% of installed capacity. For example, Walmart has a wind farm in the state of Oaxaca that provides electricity to all its stores.

Among energy generation sources, the first and oldest are hydroelectric. Among the most important due to their generation capacity are the plants in Chicoasén, Chiapas (Manuel Moreno Torres, which generates 2,400 MW); Malpaso in Tecpatán, Chiapas; El Infiernillo in La Unión, Guerrero (which produces 1,040 MW); and Aguamilpa in Tepic, Nayarit (which is capable of generating 960 MW). The system also has the Belisario Domínguez Hydroelectric, or Angostura, in Chiapas, which generates 900 MW. Leonardo Rodrí­guez Alcaine Hydroelectric, known as “El Cajón,” currently produces 750 MW from Santa Marí­a del Oro, Nayarit. Another of great importance is in Choix, Sonora, named for Luis Donaldo Colosio and known as Huites, which generates 422 MW at its maximum capacity. The most important thermoelectric plants are Tuxpan, Veracruz (with 2,200 MW of electricity generation capacity); Tula Hidalgo (which produces 1,546 MW) and Manzanillo (with 1,200 MW). Geothermoelectric plants have less presence in the national electricity system, although two stand out—both at Cerro Prieto in Mexicali, Baja California, producing 220 MW and 180 MW respectively. Carboelectric plants number just two, and both are located in Nava, Coahuila, generating 1,200 and 1,400 MW respectively. There is just one nuclear power plant, Laguna Verde in Alto Lucero, Veracruz, and by itself this plant generates 1,400 MW.

For some time now, the federal government has emphasized the need to shift toward alternative energy, such as wind power. In 1982, the Guerrero Negro Wind Power Plant was installed in Mulegé, Baja California Sur, and in 1994 the Sale in Juchitán, Oaxaca. The former has a very low production limit, while the latter produces only 85 MW.

Other forms of generation in use in Mexico, such as combined cycle and diesel, generate electricity in much smaller quantities than the above-mentioned methods. Under laws passed in 2014, the CFE now faces the entry of competitors who want to produce and sell energy. Although by 2016 no contracts had been executed, companies including Iberdrola of Spain or KEPCO of South Korea had expressed interest in helping meet public demand and starting operations in Mexico. However, for the time being, CFE installed capacity still largely sustains Mexico’s economic activity, and this solid infrastructure achieved since the CFE’s creation is a point of pride for Mexicans.