Mexico approves revised hydropower project regulatory policies

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Mexico’s congress has changed its renewable energy and energy transition law to include larger hydroelectric projects in the country’s definition of “renewable”, provided they satisfy a certain criteria.

Modifications to the country’s 2008 energy reform law, LAERFTE, would include hydropower plants with capacities about 30 MW to be classified as “renewable”, but only if they meet a generation density standard.

The generation density standard is defined as a project’s generation capacity in relationship to the surface area of its retaining wall, and in Mexico‘s case, the ratio must have a generation density of 10 watts per meter squared to qualify.

The standard is the same applied by the United Nations in its Framework Convention on Climate Change when determining if plants qualify for “Clean Development Mechanism” (CDM) status.

The changes were introduced in January 2012, reported, and are intended to help incentivize new hydropower development and expansion of existing projects.

Data from Mexico’s Ministry of Energy show the country could expand its small hydroelectric capacity by as much as 4 GW and its large capacity by 40 GW. Currently, reports said, Mexico’s total installed hydropower capacity accounts for about 11.5 GW.

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