Mexican leader, US climate envoy plan next solar plants meeting

North American Leaders' Summit in Mexico City
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks at a joint news conference with U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the conclusion of the North American Leaders' Summit in Mexico City, Mexico, January 10, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Romero

MEXICO CITY, March 27 (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will meet with U.S. President Joe Biden's climate envoy in two months to discuss plans to install more solar plants in northern Sonora state, the Mexican leader said Monday, as a major renewable energy park there nears completion.

The Puerto Penasco solar plant in the sprawling border state, which boasts some of the highest temperatures in the country, is set to go online in April as part of the president's flagship solar push, which officials have said could boast five additional plants.

Lopez Obrador told reporters at a news conference that he discussed his plans to build several more plants like Penasco with U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry during his visit to Mexico this month.

"Talks are advancing to replicate the Penasco plant to other places in Sonora, a minimum of three more plants," said Lopez Obrador.

"We agreed to another meeting in two months," he said. "They are going to look to help us in case it requires investment, and to ensure the interest rates will be as low as possible."

In December, Lopez Obrador said the United States was offering to help Mexico with loans to finance solar power stations in Sonora to boost clean energy supplies.

On Monday, the president said he and Kerry discussed a possible $5 billion investment in the project known as "Plan Sonora". He gave no details on whether it would involve a loan or include U.S government funds.

Mexican officials, aiming to double renewable power capacity by 2030, have said the country must invest $48 billion to meet its goal.

The president has said national power company CFE should run the plants. The Mexican government has been at odds with the United States and Canada over electricity policy because of Lopez Obrador's drive to give more control over energy to cash-strapped state energy companies.

(This story has been refiled to fix typographical error in paragraph 4)

Reporting by Valentine Hilaire; Editing by Isabel Woodford and David Gregorio

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