Mexico revises environmental law to include some large hydro plants

MEXICO CITY, Mexico 1/18/12 (PennWell) -- A modification to Mexico's renewable energy law will broaden the country's definition of "renewable" to include larger hydroelectric plants, sources report.

The revised law has been signed off by Mexican president Felipe Calderon and amends portions of Mexico's 2008 energy reform law (LAERFTE). Under the original law, hydropower projects with capacities greater than 30 MW were set apart from other renewables given their larger environmental footprint.

The changed definition means facilities with greater than 30 MW of capacity will still be considered renewable if they have reservoirs with less than 50,000 cubic meters of water or that occupy less than 1 hectacre of surface area.

According to state utility Comision Federal de Electricidad, hydroelectric power currently accounts for 12.8% of Mexico's total production, including 41 plants of 30 MW or less for a combined capacity of about 300 MW.

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