The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

The Opt-Out Continues: Now Mexico

Discovery of huge natural gas deposits was key in this case

1 min read

The latest country to back away from nuclear energy, following a recent decision by Belgium to re-accelerate a nuclear phase-out, is Mexico.

According to a report distributed by Bloomberg news, the Mexican government has decided to ditch the idea of building as many as ten nuclear power plants in the next decades and instead build gas-fired generating plants. Behind the decision: the discovery there may be as much as 300 trillion cubic feet of natural gas buried in shale under the  Coahuila border region, in additional to newly discovered reserves of conventional gas under the Gulf of Mexico.

Bloomberg quotes an economist as saying, rightly, that gas-fired plants are cheaper than nuclear power plants and can be built much more quickly. The Mexicans will want to be mindful, however, of growing U.S. evidence of groundwater contamination by methane near shale gas operations

The Conversation (0)
This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

Keep Reading ↓Show less