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China Buys Into Mexico’s Emerging Renewable Energy Sector

A Chinese energy giant has bought the biggest independent producer of renewable energy in Mexico, giving the industry a vote of confidence even as Mexico’s authorities have moved to slow down private investment in renewable energy in the country.

State Power Investment Corp (SPIC) of China, which has more than US$170 billion in energy assets globally, including in solar, wind, and hydrogen power in South America, has acquired Mexico’s leading independent renewables firm Zuma Energia, a spokesman for the Mexican company told Bloomberg in a press release, without disclosing the purchase price.

SPIC is betting on Mexico’s long-term renewable prospects despite the current headwinds to clean energy in the country. The acquisition also adds to other deals that Chinese power companies have recently made in South and Latin America.

The acquisition “signifies our continuous commitment and support for clean and renewable power generation, as well as confidence in the Mexican economy,” Qian Zhimin, Chairman of SPIC, said in the statement provided to Bloomberg.   

While China believes in Mexican green energy, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is not a huge fan of renewable energy, and his administration has moved to slow down the development of wind and solar projects recently.

Mexico’s current energy policies center on ‘energy independence’ for the oil industry, with support to state oil firm Pemex to reverse the trend of declining crude oil production of the past decade and a half.

Related: Why Iraq Isn’t Producing 10 Million Barrels Per Day Yet

López Obrador has been quoted as saying that the government would stop issuing permits for new wind projects that interfere with the environment and cause “visual pollution”. Other reports have said López Obrador also downplayed the amount of electricity wind farms produce and said the companies that build them were private businesses that needed to be subsidized.

SPIC’s acquisition of the top independent Mexican renewable company comes days after Chinese state-owned company State Grid International Development bought 96 percent in Chilean utility Compañía General de Electricidad (CGE) from Spain’s Naturgy.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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