May 2014 – Sep 2017

21st Century Power Partnership Mexico

Mexico map

Country

Mexico – Latin America

To provide technical support to enable the Government of Mexico to coordinate, accelerate and institutionalise the development of smart grids in Mexico.

$4,221,041 Multi-Year Grant Value

Evaluators

Other funders

  • Governments of Germany and Denmark (aligned funders)

The programme funds a technical support platform, the 21st Century Power Partnership (21CPP), to provide world-class technical and regulatory advice on clean energy system management and smart grid implementation to support Mexico’s power system transformation. 

This programme focuses on supporting power system transformation by providing capacity and technical assistance to address critical challenges facing policymakers, regulators, and system operators. 

This assistance provided by 21CPP Mexico includes: 

  • tailored research
  • expert exchanges
  • connecting experts such as those working for regulators, utilities and grid operators
  • running best practice workshops
  • providing power system modelling support
  • developing power system transformation roadmaps
  • creating knowledge-sharing opportunities with other countries

To date, the 21CPP has supported processes relating to the Smart Grid Roadmap, and the establishment of the Market Monitoring Unit in Mexico; as well as planning for implementation of Paris commitments and the NDC.  

21CPP Mexico is a Clean Energy Ministerial initiative. It is led by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis (JISEA) and carried out in cooperation with government and local stakeholders, drawing upon an international community of power system expertise.

Impact

A shift in Mexico’s power sector will provide an essential foundation for achieving a potential reduction in emissions of 60 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year in 2020 and 130-155 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year in 2030.

Reducing emissions by the equivalent of 3 billion tonnes of CO2 is like taking every vehicle in Mexico off the road for 5 months

Since the start of the investment, Mexico has made some institutional progress towards increased penetration of renewables. It has created an effective regulatory and planning framework, improved its technical capacity, and has some key aspects of a functioning energy market in place, including a market monitoring unit, market rules, and smart grid roadmap. 

Two recent energy auctions highlight the increased competitiveness of renewable energies in Mexico. The lowest bid for solar set a new record low for solar energy in Latin America. These auctions are estimated to have helped Mexico achieve at least 25% of the renewable energy capacity required under its 2024 renewable energy target.

An external evaluation assessed CIFF's support to the 21st Century Power Partnership (21CPP). The evaluation found that 21CPP was effective in supporting the Mexican energy reform process. Through the activities and outputs provided in the form of workshops, inputs to technical studies, and advice to the Mexican government, 21CPP contributed to shaping the regulatory and planning framework of the Mexican energy sector towards deployment of renewable energy, smart grids and distributed generation. Further, through these activities, the institutional capacity of key government institutions, notably the Secretariat of Energy (SENER), increased to the extent that they are now more capable of planning and managing the energy sector transition process.

While the programme showed good results in terms of supporting the regulatory and planning framework, the actual projects for deployment of renewable energy have not been fully realised. While the outlook is promising, there are concerns in relation to the social and environmental impacts of implementing the projects. The design and development of the programme could have foreseen these issues and taken a more proactive role in supporting the Mexican government on managing the social and political aspects of reform execution.