Energy in Mexico

Energy in Mexico

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By Gustavo Castro Soto

Mexico is connecting its networks to the north and south of the country. These resources range from electricity, gas, oil, water, communications, etc.

The energy integration of the Puebla-Panama-Bogotá Plan

The Puebla-Panama Plan (now including Colombia) 1 aims to promote energy infrastructure works such as gas pipelines, oil pipelines, refineries, hydroelectric dams, among others. Although each country is strongly promoting the latter, the energy integration process in the region has started with the electrical interconnection under the so-called Electrical Integration System for Central America (SIEPAC) .2 This initiative is coordinated by Guatemala and aims to "unify the electricity generating markets in the region to promote investment from both the public and private sectors and reduce the cost of this service. " This implies the creation of the regional electricity market that, through technical operation, will support the design of standards and the creation of two institutions; a regulator and another operator responsible for monitoring their application and updating, as well as building the SIEPAC line.

The objective of the PPP is to create a single electricity law for the entire region, a single administrator, a single company, a single integrated network aimed at the United States; and many hydroelectric dams to produce energy or guarantee the fields or access to gas as another cheaper energy source for companies. It is intended to respond to the demand of the transnational business sector. This implies a single "regulation" that guarantees the "rights" of big capital, erasing national borders and currencies to dollarize the economy.

According to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the countries that would lack "a legal and regulatory framework that promotes investment and competition in the sector" would be Costa Rica and Honduras. Those who have "the need to review regulatory frameworks to avoid excesses derived from lack of competition" would be El Salvador and Guatemala. And those who have the "Need to strengthen an autonomous regulatory body" would be Costa

Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. And in the case of Mexico there is a great constitutional obstacle to privatize electricity.

The Electrical Interconnection System for Central America (Siepac) will consist of uniting all the countries in the region and creating a 1,802 km long electric transmission line from Panama to Guatemala, with a capacity of 230 kilovolts, with connections to transformer substations and the national networks of the participating countries. It is also intended to create a regional market "with clear and uniform rules (which) will provide incentives for the installation of larger and more efficient generating plants, investments that will help reduce electricity costs in the region and strengthen the reliability of its systems. power supply ”. Siepac will have three interconnection projects: 1) Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama; 2) Interconnect Belize with Guatemala; and 3) Connect Mexico with Guatemala, which will allow the Mexican electricity system to be integrated with the Central American electricity market through the construction of a 440Kw transmission line, with a 103-kilometer length of the Tapachula substations. , Mexico to Los Brillantes, Guatemala. The project is implemented between the CFE and the National Electrification Institute (INDE) of

Guatemala. The cost of the interconnection is 55.8 million dollars with IDB financing and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2007.3

As more remote antecedents, we can confirm that since 1996 the Central American governments signed a Central American Electricity Framework Treaty in force since 1998, which allows countries to sell and buy electricity. Later, two other regional institutions had to be created: the Regional Electric Interconnection Commission (CRIE) that will regulate the new Central American electricity market; and the Ente Operador Regional (EOR), operator of the system and administrator of the regional electricity transaction market where Spanish companies intend to control.

As part of the scheme, the six Central American companies will transfer the loan proceeds to the Company Owner of the SIEPAC Line (EPL) based in Panama, which in turn may incorporate electricity companies from the private sector as shareholders.

For this reason, Siepac is not composed or regulated by democratic bodies, but rather is composed of a Programming and Evaluation Committee; an Executing Unit based in Costa Rica; and the Steering Group made up of representatives of the ministries responsible for the energy sector and the economic sector of each country, as well as the electricity companies of each country that, in many cases, are acquiring the face of transnational companies as they leave. privatizing. This Steering Group has full responsibility for the project and decision making.

Originally it was reported that the SIEPAC project would have a cost of 320.3 million dollars (mdd) of which the IDB will lend 240 million dollars that it has approved since 1997. Of these, 170 come from the IDB itself and will be concessioned to the electricity companies of Costa Rica ( Costa Rican Electricity Institute); El Salvador (Executive Hydroelectric Commission of the Lempa River); Guatemala (National Institute of Electrification of Guatemala); Honduras (National Electric Power Company of Honduras); Nicaragua (Nicaraguan Electricity Company); and Panama (Empresa de Distribución Eléctrica S.A. de Panamá). The other 70 million dollars would be loaned to the same companies and come from the V Centennial Fund of the Government of Spain that refers to the 500 years in which the conquest arrived on the Continent and that still intends to persist. With this, the EPL remains in the hands of the Spanish electricity transnational Endesa, who becomes the distributor and primary supplier for the entire region, as the governments will hand over the concessions to EPL, who in turn will acquire the rights of way and carry out the studies. of environmental impact, which will not guarantee any impartiality. Thus, any company can buy energy from anywhere in the region where it is installed.

In various projects of the Inter-Institutional Technical Group for the PPP of the IDB, CABEI and ECLAC, it is mentioned that in the context of the PPP it is intended to create a network of “605 km. in four 400 kv double circuit transmission lines, associated with the expansion of hydroelectric generation in Chiapas ”, which in this case would be Chicoasén. The document also adds the objective of the hegemonic countries in the American Continent that consume the most energy in the world, those who heat the planet the most and to whom we owe, among others, the destruction of the ozone layer: "the project in execution for the interconnection between Mexico and Guatemala, which would undoubtedly facilitate the interconnection from Panama to Canada ”. The document also indicates that the "Promotion of Regional Hydroelectric and Geothermal Power Plants" project intends to develop a project promotion strategy for the installation of hydroelectric and geothermal power plants.


In 2005, the report of the National Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions 1990 - 2002 was presented.4 On emissions from fixed sources5 in Mexico, for the years 1990-2003, using the Methodology of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (PICC) version In 1996, it was concluded that carbon dioxide emissions due to the burning of fuels in stationary sources increased by 26% during this period, from 188,380 Gg to 237,341 Gg, without considering the emissions from biomass. For the rest of the gases considered and taking into account the emissions produced by biomass, it was found for the same period that methane (CH4) emissions increased by around 9%, reaching 86 Gg in 2003; nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions increased 27%, reaching 2.8 Gg in 2003; Nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions increased 43%, reaching 841 Gg in 2003; carbon monoxide (CO) emissions reached 1772 Gg in 2003, which means an increase of 12%; emissions of volatile organic compounds other than methane (NMVOC) increased 12% and reached 194 Gg in 2003; finally, SO2 emissions had a 4% decrease, reaching 2,237,310 tons in 2003.

It should be mentioned that in the case of biomass a value of 30% was used in the industrial sector and a value of 60% in the residential sector, since it is considered that the consumption of firewood in the residential sector has a higher degree of uncertainty than the use of bagasse in the industrial sector. 6

The Energy Industries accounted for 66% of the total emissions, while the Manufacturing Industries and Construction contributed 21% in 2003.

Of this 66% of CO2 emissions, 50% come from the electricity generation sector, which is the main driver in the increase in total emissions and which had a 75% growth in its emissions during 1990-2003. The increased use of natural gas instead of fuel oil in electricity generation prevented the increase in total CO2 emissions from being greater.

CO2 emissions from biomass consumption reached 37,672 Gg in 2003, which means an increase of 12% in the period considered. The residential sector was the main emitter with 75% of total CO2 emissions in 2003, which reflects the burning of firewood in the poorest population in the country.

When total CO2 emissions are analyzed by type of fuel, it is found that natural gas was the main contributor in 2003, with 37% of the total, followed by fuel oil with 29%, coal 12% and LPG 11%.

The CO2 emissions of the Energy Industries grew 50% during the 1990-2003 period from 104,707 Gg to 156,587 Gg. Natural gas and fuel oil contributed 41% and 38% of sectoral emissions in 2003, followed by coal with 18%. Within this sector, CO2 emissions from electricity generation totaled 116,790 Gg in 2003, which means 75% growth in the period considered. This growth in emissions was driven by the corresponding increase in energy consumption for electricity generation, which was 82% in the period. Fuel oil, natural gas and coal accounted for 45%, 29% and 24% of CO2 emissions in electricity generation in 2003.

It should be noted that the share of fuel oil consumption for electricity generation decreased from 76% in 1990 to 45% in 2003, while natural gas increased its share from 12% to 29% in the same period.

CO2 emissions from the Manufacturing Industry and Construction decreased 11% in the 1990-2003 period as a consequence of the 14% drop in their energy consumption. Natural gas was the main contributor to sectoral emissions in 2003 with 43%, followed by fuel oil with 18%, petroleum coke with 13% and coal coke with 14%. CO2 emissions from the residential sector increased 8% in the 1990-2003 period, going from 18,343 Gg to 19,888 Gg. CO2 emissions from the consumption of liquefied petroleum gas represented 91% of total sectoral emissions in 2003. Emissions in the commercial sector reached 4,466 Gg in 2003, which means an increase of 20% in the period 1990- 2003. LPG was the main sector issuer with 87% in 2003. And in the agricultural sector they increased 25% throughout 1990-2003, reaching 6,245 Gg. CO2 emissions from diesel represented 92% of the sectoral total in 2003.

The CO2 emissions estimated with the Reference and Sectorial methods show a difference of around 5% for each year between 1990 and 2003, which could be explained because energy consumption using the sectorial method is lower than consumption using the sectoral method. reference due to the losses due to conversion of primary to secondary fuels, since the sectoral method only uses secondary fuels while the Reference method takes into account the consumption of primary fuels, which does not necessarily occur as in the case of crude oil. Since this difference between the estimated CO2 emissions between the two methods is very small, these estimates are considered to be sufficiently accurate.

Finally, it should be noted that only the total Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GFI) by PEMEX in 2003 were 39.56 million tons of CO2.7

Regarding the coal industry in Mexico, underground and post-mining activities are the main contributors to methane emissions in this sector.

This estimate has a high uncertainty due to the emission factors used for the estimate. According to the Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty Management in National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (OBPGIINGEI) the default emission factors have important variations that make them uncertain, however their use is recommended as long as there are no more suitable factors. Regarding the influence that this category may have on the national greenhouse gas inventory, the estimated annual methane emissions do not exceed 90 Gg, which is why it is thought that the contribution of this category is marginal. However, if the production of existing mines is increased or the number of exploited mines is increased without having planned options for the use of recovered methane, it is possible that the contribution in future inventories will become moderate.8

The impulse of this capitalist production model and its consumption of energy also generates a strong pressure on natural resources. The main factors that threaten biodiversity are changes in land use (mainly driven by agricultural activities), population and infrastructure growth (construction of roads, electrical networks and dams), overexploitation and illegal use of natural resources, forest fires, the introduction of invasive species and global climate change. As a result of these and other pressures, NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2001 currently recognizes 2 thousand 583 Mexican species in some risk condition, with plants being the most affected group (939 species, between angiosperms and gymnosperms), followed by mammals (126 species) and birds (108 species).

It is estimated that between 1993 and 2002, Mexico lost about 2.5 million hectares of forests, 837 thousand of xerophilous scrub, 836 thousand of forests and 95 thousand hectares of wetlands. The country conserves undisturbed less than 20% of its forests, 47% of its forests, 70% of its shrubs and 34% of grasslands. In this same period, the national highway network was expanded by 26,871 kilometers, which has contributed to the loss and deterioration of the country's terrestrial ecosystems. Between 1990 and 2000, 23 large dams were also built, which together with the remaining 212 have negatively impacted many national freshwater ecosystems.

By 2005, 780 invasive species were recognized: 647 plants, 75 fish, 2 amphibians, 8 reptiles, 30 birds and 2 invertebrates. Between 1995 and 2003, the illegal extraction of specimens and wildlife products maintained a growing trend: it went from 79 to 131 pieces per insurance operation in that period.

On the other hand, according to the 2002 Land Use and Vegetation Charter, mangroves covered just over 900 thousand hectares in the country, spread over both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. The human activities that affect them are deforestation (due to the demand for land for human settlements, tourist areas, road and oil infrastructure, agricultural and marine activities), modification of the hydrology of coastal lagoons and estuaries (due to the opening of mouths and bars), reduction of water flow due to irrigation works and water pollution.

Although there are no definitive figures about the magnitude of mangrove loss in Mexico, according to the FAO, between 1990 and 2000 about 103 thousand hectares were lost, leaving only about 64% of the original area of mangroves where the damming of rivers has contributed to this crisis. In response, they have been safeguarded within protected natural areas (in 14 areas with about 550 thousand hectares until 2004), within sites registered in the Ramsar Convention (29 sites) and through other types of instruments, as is the case of the creation of official standards (eg, NOM-059- SEMARNAT-2001 and NOM-022-SEMARNAT- 2003.9

In the case of social impacts, deforestation, change in land use, contamination of soil and rivers, among other economic and energy policies, have caused a strong wave of migration to the United States or to urban centers, increasing poverty and misery. and pressure on energy demand. The population of Mexico maintains an intense internal and external movement. During the 1995-2000 period, the main migratory flows (47.8%) occurred between large cities and intermediate cities, while migration from the countryside to large cities represented only 18.3% of the total. In 2005, the Federal District, Tabasco, Chiapas and Guerrero were the states that registered the most negative migratory balance in the country, while Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur were the states that received proportionally more immigrants.

Net migration abroad, mainly to the United States, is numerically considerable. In 2000 it was calculated that the net flow was 390 thousand individuals (most of them of productive age). In 2003, this flow caused the real total growth rate to be only 1.11%, instead of 1.49%, which would correspond to the natural growth rate. Although migration occurs throughout the national territory, in the states of Aguascalientes, Durango, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacán and Zacatecas it is more intense, which explains, at least in part, their low rates of population growth.10

Pemex pollution, the explosion of gas and oil pipelines and the oil spill continue to wreak havoc on the surrounding communities. For example, in 2005 in the state of Tabasco the explosion of a 16-inch diameter pipeline, which transports natural gas and crude from Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), caused a fire that affected at least eight hectares of grasslands, trees fruit trees, animals and precious woods in a property of this community in the municipality of Centla, located 57 kilometers from Villahermosa.11

In 2006, 65 workers at the Pasta de Conchos mine in the state of Coahuila died after a gas explosion. But there are other costs as well. Women, children and girls are the most affected by the use of firewood in indigenous communities. In the case of those displaced by the dams who continue to demand compensation after decades of non-compliance. The recent cases of the resistance of the El Cajón dams; The deaths and repression for the fight against the La Parota hydroelectric project in the state of Guerrero or the Arcediano Dam in the state of Jalisco, among some examples, continue to increase the dramatic cases of the cost of energy in the country.12

Dams, electric power and the defense of oil are until now the thematic axes that are mobilizing the most diverse sectors of Mexican society. In the case of water, it is necessary to consolidate the link between national social movements with the Alternative World Water Forum, which in its third version in March 2005, in its Final Declaration, reaffirmed the right to water as a human right, the status of water as a good common, collective financing of access to water and democratic water management at all levels. At the same time, the need to strengthen the campaign against the WTO General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS), against privatization and for the defense of public water distribution services was reaffirmed.13 In the same way with the Global Platform for the Fight for Water, which in the framework of the V World Social Forum held in January 2005, endorsed the position that water is a human right and a public resource, and committed to a campaign against Transnational Companies (ET) such as Vivendi, Suez and RWE; fight so that water is not included in the GATS; fight against the privatization policies of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs); preserve the waters of nature and defend the Guaraní Aquifer; emphasize the issue of gender and the weakest groups and expand alliances for unity in the global fight against the privatization of water.

On the other hand, unlike other issues, among the sectors that have been linked at the regional level has been the issue of water, dams and electricity with the campaign promoted by the Mexican Movement of People Affected by Dams and in Defense de los Ríos (Mapder) within the framework of the Latin American Network against Dams and for their Rivers, their communities and Water (Redlar) against transnational energy companies, especially against Unión Fenosa, Iberdrola and Endesa.

The 21st century dawns with many struggles and resistance. The I International Meeting of People Affected by Dams and their Allies held in Curitiba (1997), Brazil, and their call for the 'International Day of Action Against Dams and for Rivers, Water and Life' every March 14 , was resumed by other processes that were being formed in the immediate years and that in Mesoamerica took off as of 2003. In 1999 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the First Meeting of the Latin American Network against Dams and for the Rivers was held. , their Communities and Water and the II Encuentro (2002) takes place in Posadas, Argentina, with the participation for the first time of organizations from Mesoamerica. A year later and after five years, the global process is resumed, with the Second International of People Affected by Dams and their Allies being held in Thailand (2003) 14 where a large delegation of the Movement also participated.

Mesoamerican against Dams including Mexico. This is how the networks began to weave organically and programmatically in the struggle and resistance for the defense of human rights, water, rivers and in the search for sustainable development.

The resistance that was isolated in Mesoamerica managed to organize itself under the First Mesoamerican Forum against Dams in Guatemala (2002). The following year it was carried out in Honduras (2003) and then in El Salvador (2004), strengthening their alliances and strategies.

The mobilizations never seen before on March 14 began to be visible. From the Mesoamerican Forums, the Petenero Front Against Dams (2002), the Chiapaneco Front Against Dams (2003) and the Mexican Movement Against Dams and for the Defense of Rivers –MAPDER- (2004) were formed and began to consolidate resistance in the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla, among other entities and countries. fifteen

It is in 2005 that the Guatemalan National Front Against Dams was formed, which is unprecedented. In this same country, the III Meeting of the Latin American Network Against Dams and for Rivers, their Communities and Water was held in 2005 in the community displaced by the Chixoy dam. Since 2002 when the Movement

Mesoamerica is coordinated and linked with the Latin American and global process against dams, progress has been made by a rapid organization, linking and awareness of the peoples about the problem of natural resources in the context of the PPP and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

In 2005 Panama, Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador were the headquarters of social processes and managed to open the link from the issue of dams more and more to the problem of water, electricity privatization, the mining sector and the problem of mangroves.

The Mesoamerican movement of resistance and struggle for the defense of natural resources has managed to articulate not only around the axis of dams but also the Mesoamerican Movement against the PPP and the Week for Biological and Cultural Diversity whose processes began in Chiapas (2001) ; to the Central American fight against CAFTA, and to the Central American Movement against Mines created in 2005. But in addition, the increasingly high level of articulation has managed to link various aspects in an integral way such as water-land-biodiversity-PPP- FTAA-CAFTA-NAFTA-WTO- electric power-IFI's16-Transnational Corporations.17


This global vision has led to the popular resistance struggles becoming more and more comprehensive and, when fighting globally, we think about the local, and that fighting locally, we think about the local. However, there is one aspect pending to be incorporated into the agenda of the popular movement: alternatives. And of these we refer not only to the search and achievement of alternatives to generate decentralized and sustainable electrical energy, but also to methods of collecting water, to the conservation of forests and soils, to mechanisms of food sovereignty, to the protection of the environment. environment and the earth, among alternative aspects to the Corporation-Nation model that point towards a new alternative system to terminal capitalism. Although there are successful experiences, there is little systematization of them.18

In the last 14 years, social resistance in Mexico has managed to stop important hydroelectric projects such as the Itzantún Dam and the dams on the Usumacinta River in Chiapas; plans to double capacity at the 609 MW El Caracol plant. in the Balsas river they have been postponed by the local opposition; the fight against the La Parota dam in Guerrero, Arcediano in Jalisco and Paso de Reina, Benito Juárez and Ixtlayutla in Oaxaca. But the project for the new Atenco international airport, the wind farms or the dry corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, among other projects.

The resistance of the social movement has also claimed victims who have been beaten, persecuted, imprisoned, murdered, threatened and displaced. And despite the lies, deception, cheating and other actions by companies and governments, the peoples continue to march and resist; in meetings, encounters and articulation of networks and spaces to defend the lives of all in search of alternatives.


1 Official website:

2 For an updated review of the electrical interconnection projects see

3 Source:

4 See National Institute of Ecology:

5 Electric power supply; commercial, institutional, residential, industrial, agricultural, forestry, fishing combustion

6 National Inventory of Greenhouse Gases 2002, Part 1: fixed sources of energy. National Institute of Ecology, August 2005;

7 Inventory of Emissions of Methane and Ozone Precursor Gases in the Petroleum and Natural Gas Industries in Mexico. Final Report, June 2005. National Institute of Ecology;

8 Inventory of Methane Emissions in the Coal Industry in Mexico. Final Report, June 2005. National Institute of Ecology.

9 For a more detailed mapping you can consult


11 La Jornada, May 4, 2005.

12 For a more detailed look at the social costs of dams, see

13 Final Declaration of the 3rd Alternative World Water Forum, Geneva, Switzerland, March 2005. See

14 See

15 To learn about the Mexican, Guatemalan, Mesoamerican, Latin American and international process of fight against dams, see the respective analyzes at

16 Among the International Financial Institutions: WB, IMF, IDB and CABEI, mainly.

17 Endesa, Unión Fenosa, Iberdrola among other corporations are already clearly identified by the

social resistance.

18 For a detailed systematization of the process of the anti-dam social movement, see Annex 6: “Process of the Anti-Dam Movement”.

The published article is part III / III of the article LA ENERGÍA EN MÉXICO by Gustavo Gustavo Castro Soto - Otros Mundos, A.C./COMPA

To read the complete article with all its tables and illustrations, download the three pdf files indicated at the end of this note.

July 30, 2007; San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

(NOTA: La presente investigación forma parte del Capítulo México elaborado por Otros Mundos, A.C. para la publicación “La Política Energética en América Latina: Presente y Futuro. Críticas y Propuestas de los Pueblos”, Coordinado por Chile Sustentable y editado en mayo del 2008. En esta publicación participaron el Programa Argentina Sustentable, Programa Chile Sustentable, Programa Brasil Sustentable, Amigos de la Tierra-Brasil, Acción Ecológica-Ecuador; AMIGRANSAVenezuela, CENSAT-Colombia; Ceuta-Uruguay; FBOMS-Brasil; CESTA-El Salvador; y Otros Mundos-México. Se realizó gracias al apoyo del Institute for Policy Studies International Forum on Globalization – Programa Cono Sur Sustentable

Archivos en pdf
– La Energía en México I
– La Energía en México II
– La Energía en México III

Video: Energy llega a ti. Fernando Ugalde: Entrenamiento de pierna (June 2022).


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