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Published on January 12th, 2012 | by Andrew


Mexico Geothermal Energy Off to Good 2012 Start with 50-MW Los Humeros II

January 12th, 2012 by  

Photo courtesy Alstom

Geothermal energy is starting off 2012 in grand fashion in Mexico, with the 50-megawatt (MW) capacity Los Humeros Phase II geothermal energy plants in the east-central Mexico state of Puebla due to come fully on-line in May this year. Following the expected completion of the Los Humeros II Phase B plant, the Phase A and Phase B plants will cost-effectively produce more than 400 gigawatt-hours (400GWh) of electricity, enough to provide clean, renewable, baseload electrical power to some 100,000 local homes and businesses.

Mexico’s Energy Dept., the Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE), and the state of Puebla have been working with France’s Alstom to expand geothermal energy capacity at the site over the past three years. Alstom yesterday announced signing the Los Humeros II Phase B €30-million (~$39-million) contract with the CFE, which calls for it to provide a turnkey, 25-MW geothermal power plant. Alstom and the CFE signed the initial Los Humeros II Phase A contract in May 2009.

Clean, Reliable, Cost-Effective: Geothermal Energy in Mexico

This may come as something of a surprise – it did to me – but Mexico ranks fourth worldwide in terms of geothermal energy generation, behind the US, the Philippines, and Indonesia. With geothermal energy plants up and running in Baja, California, Coahuila, Jalisco, Michoacan and Puebla, Mexico currently has 959 MW of geothermal energy generating capacity.

Part and parcel of adding significantly to Mexico’s clean, renewable energy capacity, the Los Humeros geothermal energy plants will significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental pollution and degradation associated with fossil fuels, while at the same time reducing Mexico’s dependence on them. The stability, reliability and long-life of such projects will also stabilize energy costs over the long term, insulating the state electric utility and residents from volatile fossil fuel energy prices.

Such projects are also providing a boost to the local economy. Alstom’s contract calls for it to supply complete engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services and products, which include the steam turbine, air-cooled turbo generator, turbine control and distributed control system. The turbine will be produced at Alstom’s Morelia manufacturing facility in western Michoacan state, according to Eureoenergie’s report.

The Los Humeros’ contracts mark Alstom’s successful return to Mexico’s geothermal energy market. Its past work in Mexico included building four, 25-MW geothermal energy generation units at Michoacan’s Los Azufres geothermal power plant in 2000 and supplying two, 5-MW units at Baja California Sur’s Las Tres Virgenes geothermal power plant in 1998. 
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About the Author

I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.

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