Mexico Ministry of Energy sees big potential in bioenergy

By Erin Voegele | November 28, 2012

The Mexico Ministry of Energy (SENER) has published information on the potential for biomass energy in a report produced as part of the country’s initiative for the development of renewable energy. According to information released by SENER regarding biomass, the report identified a competitive target of 1,500 MW that could be exploited in self-supply projects and small production. “A remarkable point of this energy source is that it would create jobs and investment in agricultural areas with high concentration in the industry,” SENER said in a release.

A report titled “Prospects for Renewable Energy 2012-2016,” published by SENER, provides insight into the potential for biomass, wind, solar, photovoltaic, geothermal and hydropower in Mexico. According to the report, as of the beginning of the year, more than 50 permits had been issued for power generation using agricultural residues. The report notes that no data are currently available on the installed capacity of facilities that take in forest residues.

According to the publication, Mexico shows great potential for landfill gas production. The report said that Mexico disposes of approximately 28.2 million tons of solid waste in landfills, with an estimated 53 percent of that waste being organic. The country is expected to increase its rate of solid waste generated by an average of 2.3 percent per year. By the end of 2011, only 10 permits had been issued by the government to generate power from biogas, representing a combined capacity of 44.76 MW. The report estimates 186 landfills in Mexico could generate enough methane to generate between 652 and 912 MW of power.

The generation of power from livestock waste also shows great potential. Between 2008 and 2012, the government of Mexico supported the construction of 327 anaerobic digesters. The facilities take in a variety of waste materials, including manure from pig farms, dairies and feedlots. Pig manure alone is estimated to have the potential to generate between 246 and 492 MW.