Mexico presidential frontrunner pledges $13.6 billion for energy investments

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The favorite to win Mexico’s presidential election in June, Claudia Sheinbaum, on Monday outlined a plan to invest $13.57 billion in new energy generation projects through 2030.

The ambitious program plans to increase wind and solar power generation and would modernize five hydroelectric plants. It would represent a significant shift from the policies of current President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who since taking office in late 2018 has prioritized strengthening state oil company Pemex over renewables.

“We have to speed up the promotion of renewable energies,” Sheinbaum told a group of Mexican businessmen on Monday, where she specified that the new projects would add 13.66 gigawatts to the energy grid.

“We are working on the national energy plan not only through 2030, but to 2050,” Sheinbaum said, referring to the deadline set by international agreements on climate change.

If she wins the June 2 election, the former Mexico City mayor will be the nation’s first female president and will remain in office until 2030.

Sheinbaum, a close ally of Lopez Obrador, holds a comfortable lead of more than 20 percentage points over her closest challenger, opposition candidate Xochitl Galvez.

The 61-year-old scientist has assured that, if she becomes president, she will carry on her predecessor’s legacy, but change course in her approach to energy in prioritizing renewables.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Presidential candidate of the ruling MORENA party Claudia Sheinbaum holds a campaign rally in Nezahualcoyotl, State of Mexico, Mexico April 9, 2024. REUTERS/Raquel Cunha/File Photo

However, Sheinbaum’s plan outlined on Monday would also include the construction of gas-burning power plants.

Lopez Obrador has poured government funds into the heavily indebted Pemex during his administration, though the consequences of his “rescue” of the state firm will likely fall to his successor, sources told Reuters.