Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) — Mexico, one of three Latin American nations that uses nuclear power, is abandoning plans to build as many as 10 new reactors and will focus on natural gas-fired electricity plants after boosting discoveries of the fuel.
The country, which found evidence of trillions of cubic feet of gas in the past year, is “changing all its decisions, amid the very abundant existence of natural-gas deposits,” Energy Minister Jordy Herrera said yesterday in an interview. Mexico will seek private investment of about $10 billion during five years to expand its natural gas pipeline network, he said.
Mexico, Latin America’s second-largest economy, is boosting estimated gas reserves after Petroleos Mexicanos discovered new deposits in deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico and shale gas in the border state of Coahuila. The country was considering nuclear power as part of plans to boost capacity by almost three-quarters to 86 gigawatts within 15 years, from about 50 gigawatts, and now prefers gas for cost reasons, he said.
“The country has very high potential to develop renewable energy,” Herrera said. “But the renewable energy world is hurt by the cheap gas prices. And the government has to consider how much it can spend to promote alternative energy sources.”