6 thermo projects underway in Mexico amid generation push

6 thermo projects underway in Mexico amid generation push

Mexico's electricity market is undergoing a fundamental shift towards reestablishing state utility CFE as the primary force in power generation with a strong focus on combined cycle thermoelectric plant upgrades, refurbishments and construction.

The following, listed by final capacity, are the six thermoelectric projects in Mexico currently under construction, with several of them nearing completion. Although a number of these, such as the Jorge Luque plant, will simply be adding onto previous operating capacity, the combined total power generation of the six projects once completed amounts to 5.32GW.

1. Jorge Luque combined cycle plant
In coordination with the electrical workers union (SME), the Mexican government   began the overhaul and modernization of this massive complex located in the central state of Mexico in September 2018 with an original price tag of US$650mn. That figure has since jumped to US$1.46bn for reasons that remain unclear. Set for completion in March 2020, the refurbished plant has a projected capacity of 1.7GW.

2. Norte III combined cycle plant (pictured)
This US$1.55bn, 924MW plant was commissioned by the CFE as part of the federal government’s 2014-2018 investment plan. CFE is owner of the plant in northern Chihuahua state with Abeinsa Juárez N-III acting as concessionaire/operator. According to the BNamericas project profile database, construction of the project was 90% complete as of August 27. The project was expected to be completed in November, but completion of works has not been announced.

3. Energía del Valle de México (EVM II) thermoelectric plant
Owned by EVM Energia Del Valle de Mexico Generador, this is the largest PPA thermo project under construction in central Mexico, with projected capacity of 850MW. The project is expected to start operations in November 2021. In September 2018, it was reported that it would cost US$600mn, but then, in October of the same year, the financial closing for US$740mn was achieved.

4. Topolobampo III combined cycle plant
Located in northwestern Sinaloa state, this combined cycle, fuel oils plant appears to be on schedule for completion in 2020. The US$375mn, 697MW plant is owned by CFE with Iberdrola acting as operator.

5. Valle de Mexico II combined cycle plant
This US$425mn, 615MW CFE project has seen some significant delays after the original project start date was stated as May 2015 and the target completion date as December 2017. The project is under construction and the estimated operation date is scheduled for March 2019, Donaciano Vera López, operations director at ACS/Dragados Proyectos Industriales de México told BNamericas in September 2018.

6. Compañía de Electricidad Los Ramones S.A.P.I. de C.V. thermoelectric plant
Located in Nuevo León state near the northern metropolitan hub of Monterrey, this project is expected to begin operations in June 2020, according to government portal Proyectos México. The natural gas-fired plant has a capex of US$515mn with projected generating capacity of 553MW. Compañía de Electricidad Los Ramones is the owner.

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