The Federal Electricity Commission’s use of coal to generate power increased significantly in the first seven months of the year, while its use of two key renewable sources slightly declined, according to the National Energy Control Center (Cenace).
Data presented by Cenace chief Ricardo Mota Palomino at an energy conference in Veracruz showed that the state-owned utility produced 9,248 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity with coal between January and July, a 54.7% increase compared to the same period of 2021.
The CFE uses coal to generate power at three plants, two in Coahuila – where many coal mines are located – and one in Guerrero.
Data presented by Mota showed that the commission’s use of both solar and wind to generate energy fell marginally between January and July. Generation with solar totaled 10,100 GWh, down 3% compared to the first seven months of 2021, while generation with wind was 12,504 GWh, a 0.1% decline.
While the GWh totals for both solar and wind are higher than that for coal, the CFE depends much more heavily on other non-renewable sources such as gas and fuel oil. Non-renewables were used to generate almost two-thirds of CFE’s electricity last year, while the largest renewable source was hydro, contributing to 26% of the company’s total output.
Carlos Flores, an energy expert, told the newspaper Reforma that the government should be doing more to substitute non-renewable contaminating sources with renewable ones.
“The president repeats over and over again that the hydroelectric plants will be the solution for the [energy] transition when that’s not the case,” he said, insinuating that greater investment in wind and solar is needed.
“They say that [the use of] coal will come down, but … it hasn’t declined [yet], it’s the complete opposite,” Flores said.
President López Obrador, an energy nationalist intent on bolstering the CFE and state oil company Pemex at the expense of the private sector, has been loathe to move away from fossil fuels, although he has conceded that an eventual transition to clean energy is inevitable.
With reports from Reforma