Potential effects of the Mexican energy reform on life cycle impacts of electricity generation in Mexico and the Yucatan region

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© 2017 Elsevier Ltd A national energy strategy in Mexico to 2028, derived from the recent energy reform, projects a considerable shift in the national power generation mix leading to changes on its environmental profile. Therefore, this paper aims to compare the potential environmental impacts of the electricity generation under previous, current and projected energy mixes in Mexico at a national and regional scale considering the Yucatan state as the regional case study. These were estimated with a cradle-to-grave Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) following the CML–IA 2000 V2.05 methodology and including the baseline environmental impact categories. Results indicate that the environmental impacts per generated kWh of electricity have decreased in Mexico from 2007 to 2013 and would keep decreasing at a faster rate until 2028 according to current projections. In Yucatan, the environmental impacts increased from 2007 to 2013 due to an increased diesel consumption, but would decrease by 2028 reaching lower levels than in 2007. From 2007 to 2013 almost all the environmental impacts in Yucatan were lower than the country average due to a higher contribution of natural gas in the power generation mix, while in 2028 they would be similar. Overall, there is a significant difference between the national and regional estimations of the potential environmental impacts due to differences in their power generation mix. Furthermore, the potential introduction of shifts derived from the energy reform in Mexico will have a strong positive influence on the environmental impacts from the electricity generation.

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Journal of Cleaner Production