The Mexican government is proposing to push the nation’s share of installed renewable energy generation capacity to 33 per cent by 2018, according to a statement by the country’s energy secretary, Pedro Joaquin Coldwell. Speaking at the International Renewable Energy Forum in Quintana Roo on Tuesday, Coldwell said Mexico had proven resources to generate more than 18,000 gigawatt hours (GW/h) a year of renewable energy, from a mix of geothermal, minihydraulic, wind, solar and bioenergy sources.
He said that increasing the country’s share of renewable energy generation to 33 per cent within four years would mean going beyond planned energy industry reforms – a shift that would require changes to legislation, to be debated in Congress in a few weeks. Approval of these changes would make it easier both for “large companies with cutting-edge technology and those who want to put a solar panel on the roof of their house to do so, to acquire a solar heater or to lease a part of their land for wind generation,” Coldwell said. Mexico currently gets 80 per cent of its energy from fossil fuels, with 17 per cent coming from renewable sources and 3 per cent from nuclear.
Meanwhile, in Australia…
The Western Australian government has followed in the footsteps of its conservative state counterparts, choosing to can one of its most valuable energy efficiency measures with little to no industry consultation. WA energy minister, Michael Nahan, announced on Wednesday the abolition of the Program Facilitation and Review Branch of the Public Utilities Office (PUO) as of May 30 2014 – a body responsible for energy efficiency initiatives for householders. “We’re concerned that certain lobby groups have been putting pressure on the Government to reduce so-called green tape,” Association of Building Sustainability Assessors chair Sid Too said. “Without the important functions of this branch of the PUO …WA households will pay higher energy costs and have no guarantee that their new homes will be energy efficient, while big energy polluters continue to receive kickbacks and subsidies to keeping doing business as usual.” An eerily familiar refrain.
In Victoria, Premier Denis Napthine has been warned that Coalition-led changes to the Renewable Energy Target will put hundreds of jobs in his electorate at risk. Portland’s Keppel Prince – Australia’s largest producers of wind turbine towers – is the second-largest employer in south-west Victoria. The Age reports that 76 of the plant’s workers have written a letter to Dr Napthine, who also happens to be their local member, saying a cut to the RET would devastate the local community, costing jobs, investment, and hurting businesses in the region. Opposition energy spokeswoman Lily D’Ambrosio said the Napthine government’s ”anti-wind farm” planning laws had compounded the issue. ”Mr Napthine needs to decide: is he backing Victorian jobs or will he join Tony Abbott’s crusade against renewable energy.”
Meanwhile, the main mining and petroleum bodies want the renewable energy target to be removed altogether. APPEA, the oil and gas lobby group, complains that the RET will cause less gas to be burned and “inhibit” the ability of gas to reduce emissions. It appears to omit that fact that the gas price is doing that all by itself, with gas generation likely to fall dramatically as gas prices soar to meet export demand. Similarly, the Minerals Council of Australia also wants the RET removed. It uses modelling from ACIL Tasman to make its point, the same firm doing the modelling for the Abbott government’s RET Review.