Mexico's Main Power Plants

Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) is the State’s enterprise in charge of generating, transmitting, distributing and commercializing electric energy in the country. It currently services 25.3 million persons. However, little is known about where the daily energy comes from, permanently sustaining the activities of persons, companies and the government. The generating capacity has 177 energy centrals, equivalent to 49,854 MW (Megawatts), including independent producers authorized by law to generate it. The clients being provided electric energy have been divided by activity, so 0.62% is for the services sector, 10.17% for commercial, 0.78% for industrial activity, 0.44% for agriculture and the most important use is domestic, with 87.99% of users. Also, demand increases by 1.1 million petitioners each year. The installed capacity is integrated by all forms of generation; thermal power stations represent 44.80% of the production, while hydroelectric plants 22.17%, followed by fossil fuel power plants generating 5.22% of the country’s total electricity, while the nuclear power plants contribute 2.74%, with less capacity are the geothermal power plants 1.95% of the total generation and wind power plants only 0.171%. Special cases are independent producers that generate a high percentage in comparison with other forms of generation, providing 22.98% of the installed capacity, according to CFE. Energy generation has various sources, the first and oldest are hydroelectric, among the most important for their generation capacity are Chicoasen in Chiapas, Manuel Moreno Torres, generating 2,400 MW, the Malpaso in Tecpatan, Chiapas, Infiernillo at La Union, Guerrero, producing 1,000 MW, followed by Aguamilpa in Tepic, Nayarit, which is capable of generating 960 MW. The system also has Hydroelectric Belisario Domingues or Angostura, in Chiapas, which generates 900 MW, the Hydroelectric Leonardo Rodriguez Alcaine, known as “El Cajon”, currently producing 750 MW from Santa Maria del Oro in Nayarit. Also of great importance is the one found in Choix, Sonora, named Luis Donaldo Colosio, also known as Huites, generating 422 MW at its full capacity. The most important thermoelectric plants are those at Tuxpan in Veracruz, with 2,200 MW of electric energy generation capacity, the one at Tula Hidalgo producing 1546 MW, followed by the one in Manzanillo, with 1,200 MW. Geothermal power plants are less present in the national electric system, although there are three outstanding units at Cerro Prieto in Mexicali, Baja California, producing 220 MW and 180 MW respectively. There are only two fossil fuel power plants and are located in Nava, Coahuila; each generating 1,200 and 1,400 MW. There is only one nuclear electric plant, located at Laguna Verde in Alto Lucero, Veracruz; generating by itself 1,365 MW. Recently, the federal government has put emphasis on the need to converge towards alternate energy, such as wind power. In 1982, the Guerrero Negro wind power electric plant was established at Mulege, BBaja California Sur, and in 1994 La Venta in Juchitan, Oaxaca; although there is a great difference between the two, because the first is at a very low production limit, while the second produces only 85 MW. There are other generation forms as combined cycle, diesel and others generating electricity in a much lower proportion than the former. As it can be seen, the capacity installed throughout the life of Comisión Federal de Electricidad greatly sustains the country’s economic activity and we should be proud of the great infrastructure achieved by Mexican engineering. Artículo Producido por el Equipo Editorial Explorando México. Copyright Explorando México, Todos los Derechos Reservados. Foto: Cfe.Gob.Mx