The capacity for generating, transmitting and transforming electricity in Mexico is currently under significant stress, with the Monterrey metropolitan region being particularly strained, warned Armando Llamas Terrés, a specialist and expert in the industry. During the first two weeks of June, the country experienced its highest demand for electricity, leading to power outages in all regions due to infrastructure challenges across the national territory.
The current electricity demand stands at 46,000MW, with the Monterrey metropolitan region operating at the highest level in the country with 5,597MW. "The problem in the country is that we are increasingly facing difficulties in electrical generation to meet the demand from industrial zones like Monterrey and the entire residential sector," explained Llamas. He estimated that the projected demand for self-generated electrical energy in the Monterrey metropolitan area is around 6,000MW, with the generation and transmission of this energy under a monopoly held by CFE.
To address this supply-demand challenge, Llamas highlights a few options: the government could build the infrastructure, the private sector could build it and transfer it to the government or the private sector could construct it and retain ownership of the assets. "However, when developers know that infrastructure is being built for the government or the CFE, they tend to increase the cost or the company itself creates many obstacles or complicates the process," he stated.
Aiming to maintain at least a 54% share of the national electricity generation market, CFE has invested US$9.3 billion to reclaim this market. This investment, made from December 2018 to June 2023, has resulted in an additional electricity generation capacity of 9,100MW.
Out of CFE's total investment, approximately US$7.8 billion has been allocated to the construction of 16 power plants, contributing to an increased installed generation capacity of 8,547MW. The utility has also invested US$1.5 billion in the modernization of 20 hydroelectric power plants, resulting in an additional capacity of 553 MW.
What is more, CFE recently announced that it has invited companies involved in the electricity industry to present a mega transmission project planned for the country, aiming to ensure a reliable energy supply. The project is called "Increase in Electric Energy Transmission on the West Coast of the Country," referred to as "I20" Phase 1 and 2. Due to its magnitude and significance for the National Electric System, it is considered one of the most important and significant efforts to strengthen the transmission network. However, the project does not involve Monterrey, for the time being.