Creeping energy reforms in Mexico


By Rubina Obaid

Mexico is wasting the great potential of bioenergy, especially solid biofuels and all the other forms of energy being untapped, which made locals step forward and take constructive initiatives.

For decades Mexico has been way behind in productive investment for energy reforms due to numerous factors and financial constraints. Hence Mexico is wasting the great potential of bioenergy, especially solid biofuels and all the other forms of energy being untapped, which made locals step forward and take constructive initiatives. A group of women known as “Active Women charcoal producers” set up a foundation in 2017 by ten women and two men located in northern highlands of the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. With the help of the government’s financing to the National Forestry Commission and the women group, they built seven, eight cubic meter igloo-shaped ovens in order to set up a warehouse for the community logging project. The project was started in 2013, under 10 years plan the community can extract 1500 cubic meters of oak wood every year.

According to Rosa Manzano, one of the leading members of the group says “With forest management and the work of women who organized, we began this project and work hard because there is a market for charcoal but being the pioneers, it involves effort”. The oven is lit through a hole called rozadera by the charcoal makers and through a similar hole they check the progress of the fire and block the entrance through mud bricks. The oven is used twice a month to produce 23kg bags of black charcoal which is sold for about dollar five per sack. Around seventy million tons of organic waste is being generated every year in Mexico, the sector’s contribution for electricity generation is 894-gigawatt hours( GWh) comparative to other sources of energy, total gross generation in the first quarter of 2019 is 80,225 Gwh, that grew from 78,167 in the same period last year. 

wood pellet

In Mexico, around 19 million people use solid fuels for cooking and the material used by 79% of the households is LPG followed by firewood or coal that is 11% and natural gas is 7%. Creeping energy reforms in Mexico Whereas gas and firewood consumption in the southwestern state of Oxacana is 49% of the household consumption. “Renewable energy is still largely untapped in the area of agriculture, urban waste, and industry,” says President of nongovernmental Mexican Association of Biomass and Biogas. If the country would invest in renewable energy reforms it will be equivalent to five to six points of GDP that will be reflected in multiple sectors such as energy, economic, labor, health and climate benefits. While bioethanol and biodiesel sectors have improved in the past decades but the growth seems to slow down due to the high cost as compared to the alternative energy sources. 

The country is having abundant biomass sources but it still requires significant competitiveness against fossil fuels to make it cost-effective as compared to the current sources of power being utilized in the country. Forest and jungle management, angro-industrial, forest plantations, sugar cane, and agriculture waste offer the greatest biomass potential. Replacing fossil fuels with bioenergy may save 6.7 billion dollars annually and will bring social and environmental benefits. In order to meet energy targets 2030, Biomass Technology Roadmap predicts production of between 32 million and 120 million cubic meters of biomethane per year through animal waste and by 2024 and it will grow to 57 million to 100 million by 2030.

Creeping energy

On the other hand, an environmentalist who is responsible for preparing the diagnosis of biomass is not really satisfied due to the lack of policies and reliable alternative energy sources. To achieve climate benefits significant incentives should be proposed to encourage households and businesses alongside improving the efficiency of the supply chain to favorably implement the policies for rural areas. That mainly requires governmental support for effective local and regional policies and financial support to boost the use of bioenergy. Even though there is no support by the government but the charcoal making group is still putting forth its efforts to ensure the smooth availability of wood and charcoal to extend their efforts for sustainable energy resources.  

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