Mexico government expands definition of renewable hydro

Mexico City, January 16, 2012 — Mexico's president Felipe Calderon has signed a modification to the country's renewable energy law that expands the definition of renewable hydroelectric dams and provides exceptions for larger plants, according to news reports.

Mexico's law for renewable energy (LAERFTE), which formed part of the 2008 energy reform, set hydro projects with less than 30 MW apart as "renewable" given the environmental footprint of larger dams.

The modification means plants with greater than 30MW capacity will still be considered renewable if they have reservoirs that store less than 50,000m3 water or occupy less than one hectare of surface area. The modification originated in Mexico's congress.

In the first 10 months of 2011, the country's hydroelectric capacity accounted for 11.5 GW, or 21.9 percent of the country's total. Generation from hydro sources was 12.8 percent of the total in the same period, according to statistics from state power company CFE's website.

The country has 41 hydroelectric plants with below 30 MW capacity, a total of roughly 300 MW capacity.

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