IEA Mexico country page - Getty images

‌‌Mexico is a member of the OECD and joined the IEA in February 2018.

In-depth country review

Total energy demand in Mexico has grown by a quarter since 2000 and electricity consumption has grown by half, but per-capita energy use is still less than 40% of the OECD average, leaving scope for further growth. The energy mix is dominated by oil and gas, with oil accounting for around half of the total – a share higher even than that in the highly oil-dependent Middle East. Oil has traditionally played a major role as a fuel for power generation, but it is rapidly losing ground to natural gas, whose cost advantage has been reinforced by the shale gas boom in the United States. Non-fossil fuel generation, primarily from hydropower and nuclear, currently accounts for one-fifth of the total. Wind power has gained a foothold, with capacity reaching around 3 GW in 2015, but this remains far below its potential. The market for solar PV is nascent, but is expected to grow rapidly: the first two auctions for new long-term power supply, held in 2016, demonstrated private sector willingness to invest in new solar and wind capacity.

The country’s energy sector is in a period of profound change, catalysed by comprehensive energy reforms the government has been enacting since 2013. The reforms recast the structures that have governed the energy sector for over 80 years, and seek to bring in new investment and technology across the hydrocarbons value chain by ending the monopoly of Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) and by attracting new players into the power sector to ensure cost-efficient investment into both traditional and low-carbon sources of electricity. The changes reflect both the government’s broader vision of modernising the Mexican economy, as well as its intention to show leadership on environmental issues – Mexico was among the first countries to submit a climate pledge in advance of the COP21 meeting in Paris and to embed its clean energy target in domestic legislation.

IEA scenarios to 2040 indicate that the reforms will boost oil production, increase the share of renewable energy sources in the power sector, increase energy efficiency and slow the growth in carbon dioxide emissions. In the absence of these energy reforms, oil production would fall further, electricity costs would be higher, and household spending would be hit. Indeed, failure to reform would reduce Mexico’s gross domestic product by 4% in 2040, resulting in a total cumulative loss of one trillion US dollars in economic output. For details on these scenarios, refer to the World Energy Outlook Special Report - Mexico Energy Outlook (IEA, 2016).

To date, the implementation of the broad-based reforms have continued at a steady and impressive pace. Overall, Mexico’s reforms are bringing its energy policies increasingly in line with the IEA’s Shared Goals. However, some areas, such as competition policy and emergency preparedness will have to remain at the top of the agenda for reform implementation in the years to come. These areas are currently being analysed in the context of an In-depth Review of Energy Policies.