Natural Gas Tops Mexican Electric Capacity Additions

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By Editors of Power Engineering

Natural gas is expected to remain the biggest source of electrical generation in Mexico, according to a new study from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

As of 2015, 54 percent of the country’s electrical generation came from natural gas, up from 34 percent in 2005. Mexico’s national energy ministry estimates over 60 percent of Mexico’s electric capacity growth between 2016 and 2020 is expected to come from new gas-fired power plants.

Though the percentage wasn’t quantified, significant natural gas capacity additions are expected to continue through 2029.

Mexico’s national energy ministry expects 24.9 gigawatts of total natural gas capacity will be added from 2016 to 2029. 14.7 GW of that could be operational as soon as 2020.

Renewable additions are expected to reach 20.4 GW through 2029, with nuclear at 3.9 GW. 15.9 GW of capacity will be retired during that time period, most of which will be coal and fuel oil plants. The country hopes to reduce fuel oil consumption for electricity generation by 90 percent between 2012 and 2018.  

As a result of the new natural gas capacity, Mexico’s energy ministry projects natural gas demand from power generation will increase from 3.6 billion cubic feet per day to 5.4 Bcf/d in 2029. The new demand could be met by an increase of imports from the United States and expansions of cross-border U.S. to Mexico pipeline capacity.

Recent reforms in Mexico’s electricity sector should open it to private investment and create a new wholesale power market to encourage development of cost-effective electric capacity, reduce electricity costs and transition Mexico’s generation to cleaner fuels.

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