Source: El País
López Obrador has assured that the country will reach its renewable energy targets with these plants, but experts doubt that this is possible.
For months President Obrador has been repeating that his government’s big bet to meet its environmental commitments is hydroelectric power, ‘the cheapest and cleanest’.
Since then, experts have come forward to contradict this claim: it is three times more expensive than solar and wind power, and is increasingly considered less clean because of its methane emissions, its impact on ecosystems and its dependence on a scarce resource: water.
But, above all, what they question is the idea that hydropower can increase its generation sufficiently to meet Mexico’s target of 35% clean energy by 2024.
The limitations faced by such plants are not just technological. Climate change is making droughts more frequent and prolonged in the country, and when water is scarce, human and agricultural consumption are a priority.
On the other hand, just as droughts are more prolonged, torrential rains are more common as a result of global warming, which can lead to dam overflows.
Among other things, hydropower plants are not only affected by climate change, but also contribute to the crisis. When they are built, large areas of land are cleared to create reservoirs – which releases CO2 into the atmosphere – and ecosystems and people’s livelihoods are affected by the diversion of the river’s course.
In addition, organic matter that is submerged in the dams enters a state of decomposition and emits methane.
Another myth he wants to dispel is that hydropower is the cheapest. According to data from the Energy Regulatory Commission, it costs 1,211 pesos per megawatt hour, almost three times more than the 377 pesos of solar and wind power, which are in the hands of private companies.
Why is it so expensive? Because, among other things, water is a limited resource that has a price, unlike the sun or wind. That is why solar and wind are currently the first sources of energy to be dispensed: because they are the cheapest.