Publication Date



Mexico recognizes its vulnerability to the effects of climate change, including sea level rise, increasing average temperatures, more frequent extreme weather events and changes to the hydrological cycle. Because of these concerns Mexico has a vested interest in developing sustainable strategies for mitigating climate change as it develops its electricity grid. In this study, we use a set of sustainability criteria to evaluate a number of model-derived pathways for the electricity grid aimed at meeting Mexico's climate goals. We use a multi-step approach, combining pathways from multiple large scale global models with a detailed electricity model to leverage geographic information into our multi-criteria sustainability analysis. We summarize the overall ranking of each expansion plan with the use of the weighted sum method. We find that the expansion plans with more than 20% of energy coming from carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies tend to be less sustainable. While CCS technologies have low GHG emissions, they have high air pollution and water-use and require the development of extensive pipeline networks. In particular, these CCS characteristics pose concerns from an environmental justice perspective as high air pollution and water-use can significantly effect local communities: the plan with the most CCS has an extra 14 kg/GWh of weighted air pollution emissions and 199,000 liters/GWh of weighted water use compared to the plan with the most renewables. This analysis provides novel insights on tradeoffs that decisions makers must consider when looking at different sustainable development options to reach long term climate goals.

Journal or Book Title

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Transition