Mexico signs renewable energy deals with US companies as it steps up climate change fight

Among the goals would be building transmission networks to allow power to be exported to US states

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, centre, and the US special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry, centre left, during a meeting at the National Palace in Mexico City this week. EPA
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Mexico has made commitments with 17 US companies on generating clean energy, its president said on Friday.

After months of friction with business leaders, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the deals would generate 1,854 megawatts as the government fights climate change.

He did not disclose the amounts involved.

“As a result of these agreements, the creation of solar parks on the border between Mexico and the United States is being explored,” Mr Lopez Obrador said.

Also among the goals would be building energy transmission networks to allow power to be exported to California and other US states, he said at a climate conference.

This week, Mr Lopez Obrador also held talks with US Climate Envoy John Kerry in Mexico City.

The US, one of the countries with the largest investments in the Mexican energy sector, views Mr Lopez Obrador's intention to achieve greater state control of the electricity industry with antipathy.

Together with Spain, Canada, Italy and Japan, they account for 93 per cent of foreign investment in electricity, according to Economy Ministry data.

Foreign and private participation is limited to the power generation phase, while the transmission and distribution processes are a state monopoly.

Last April, the government failed in its effort to amend the constitution to restore state control of the entire production chain, but it did achieve changes in regulatory laws that strengthen its role in generating power.

Mr Lopez Obrador also reported that the state company Petroleos Mexicanos will allocate $2 billion of its resources and credits to reduce methane gas emissions in oil exploration and production processes by up to 98 per cent.

“We also join the collective commitment of the world's main economies to reach, by 2030, the objective of producing 50 per cent of vehicles with zero polluting emissions,” the president said.

Mexico is home to some of the largest car manufacturing plants of firms such as Volkswagen, Nissan, General Motors, BMW, Kia, among others, whose production is destined for more than 80 per cent of the US market.

US President Joe Biden said on Friday that the war between Russia and Ukraine shows that the switch to renewable energy is a matter of national security amid climate change.

Updated: June 19, 2022, 4:56 AM