Currently, Mexico's electricity consumption per person stands at 317 watts, lower than the global average of 412 watts per person. Fossil energy, including gas and coal, accounts for more than two-thirds of this figure - with 233 and 18 watts per person respectively. On the other hand, low-carbon energy sources like hydropower, wind, solar and nuclear comprise slightly over a quarter of Mexico's electricity consumption. Hydropower ranks highest among these with around 30 watts per person, followed by wind and solar at 18 and 12 watts per person. Nuclear energy contributes just over 9 watts per person, while geothermal and biofuels round up the bottom end with 4 and 6 watts/person. The country's electricity generation levels, being below global average, could limit industrial growth and the expansion of technologically-driven sectors. Furthermore, Mexico's reliance on fossil energy is not environmentally sustainable in the long term and necessitates a transition towards low-carbon alternatives. Additionally, net imports form a minuscule 0.7% of Mexico's electricity consumption, implying a domestic-focused electricity production policy.
To increase low-carbon electricity generation, Mexico could look to success stories of countries having similar geographical and economical conditions. In terms of nuclear energy, Sweden, France and Finland are examples of countries successfully capitalising on this low-carbon source with an astounding production of 559, 526 and 517 watts per person respectively. Given Mexico's notable amount of sunshine, the country could take cues from Spain's successful implementation of solar power which contributes 79 watts per person, as well as Australia's solar commitment of 147 watts per person. Wind energy also presents a significant opportunity for the country, particularly looking at countries like Denmark and Sweden where wind contributes 369 and 363 watts per person - enough to inspire changes in Mexico's current wind energy policy.
Reviewing the historical data on low-carbon energy in Mexico paints an intricate tale of ups and downs. Hydropower has been the predominant low-carbon source, with consistent fluctuations in generation since the 1980s. There have been several significant increases, notably a surge of 11.8 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2008, followed by a decline of 12.1 TWh only a year later. This trend continues with another upward leap of approximately 10 TWh in both 2010 and 2014. Unfortunately, recent years have seen a marked decrease in hydropower, culminating in a loss of 8.5 TWh by 2019. The latter part of the 21st century has been marked by a promising rise in wind and solar energy, adding 4.7 TWh each in 2019 and an additional 4.6 TWh from solar in 2020. The mixed history of hydroelectric stability and the recent rise in wind and solar generations provide a background against which Mexico can further develop its low-carbon portfolio.