Mexico's undersecretary of electricity touts nation's potential for clean energy at UHLC presentation

Dr. César Emiliano Hernández Ochoa, Mexico’s undersecretary of electricity, discusses the nation’s energy reform initiatives at a forum titled “The New Power Sector in Mexico” at the University of Houston Law Center.

Dr. César Emiliano Hernández Ochoa, Mexico's undersecretary of electricity, discusses the nation's energy reform initiatives at a forum titled "The New Power Sector in Mexico" at the University of Houston Law Center.

Dec. 6, 2016 – Fifty percent of Mexico could be powered by renewable energy sources by 2050, according to the undersecretary of electricity of the Mexican Ministry of Energy, Dr. César Emiliano Hernández Ochoa.

He was  the keynote speaker Friday at a discussion titled "The New Power Sector in Mexico" hosted recently by the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law and the Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Center at the University of Houston Law Center.

"Mexico's objective is to acquire clean energy at minimum cost for users," Hernández Ochoa said. "Mexico's clean energy portfolio standard of 35 percent in 2024 is among the most ambitious in the world. Our goal is to have 40 percent in 2035 and 50 percent in 2050."

Hernández Ochoa was appointed to his current position by President Enrique Peña Nieto on Feb. 5, 2014. He previously served as head of the legal affairs unit of the Ministry of Energy and has served in a number of government positions. Hernández Ochoa holds a bachelor's degree from the Faculty of Law of the National Autono­mous University of Mexico (UNAM), and is a Fulbright and Ford-MacArthur scholarship grantee. He finished his graduate studies in the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and holds a Ph.D. from UNAM.

Robert J. Downing, ashareholder at Greenberg Traurig, was the lead panelist in a discussion moderated by Law Center Research Assistant Professor Julian Cardenas Garcia. Downing asserted that while Mexico aspires to pursue cleaner energy alternatives in the future, much of those hopes will be dependent on the success of the natural gas industry.

 "In the next 15-20 years, there is going to be a massive investment going into Mexico to build out the power sector," Downing said. "A large part of that is going to be in the renewable sector, whether it be solar, wind, geothermal and other possibilities.

"Mexico has moved very much toward promoting renewable energy, but a lot of the base of this is the natural gas sector. You cannot simply talk about power and electricity in a vacuum; you have to also consider what's going on in the natural gas industry."

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