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CFE, Mexico, awards US$ 900 million modernization contract

The winning consortium, also comprising local firms Generadores Mexicanos (Gen­er­­mex), Sistemas de Energía Inter­nacional and Hydro­project de México, is expected to complete modernization of the facilities by the end of 2026, increasing their installed capacity by a total of 246 MW, CFE announced in mid-Nov­ember.

Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), Mexico’s state-owned power producer, has awarded a contract worth Peso 18.5 billion (US$ 890 million) to a consortium led by Andritz for the modernization of nine of the country’s major hydro­power plants.

The winning group will be responsible for modernizing the 1120 MW Infiernillo and the 300 MW La Villita plants, both straddling the states of Michoacán and Guerrero, the 1080 MW Malpaso (also known as Neza­hualcóyotl) scheme in Chiapas, the 900 MW La Angostura (also known as Belisario Domín­guez), the 600 MW El Caracol plant in Apaxtla, in Guerrero state; the 90 MW Adolfo López Mateo plant (also known as Humaya) in Badiraguato in the state of Sinaloa; the 220 MW La Soledad plant in Puebla (also known as Mazatepec), the 420 MW Peñitas, and the 292 MW Zimapán plant (also known as Fernando Hiriart Balder­rama) extending across the the states of Hidalgo and Querétaro.

In July CFE presented plans for the modernization of 14 of CFE’s 60 hydroelectric plants, all of them built between 1960 and 1995, in an investment budgeted at around US$ 1 billion. The modernization of the 14 plants is intended to increase annual generation by 1860 GWh and constitutes the utility’s main contribution to achieving its clean energy mix targets by 2024. On completion of this work, Mexico’s hydroelectric capacity will increase by 2 per cent to reach 12 371 MW, representing nearly 16 per cent of the country’s total installed capacity.

Financial support will be provided by Agence Française de Développe­ment (AFD), which on 15 October signed an agreement with CFE to invest €200 million (US$ 232 million) over the next 25 years in clean energy projects in the country. This will include financial support for the rehabilitation and modernization of various hydro plants where the technology is more than 30 years old, which, said CFE, will “increase the generation of electricity, the useful life of the hydroelectric plants and the security of the infrastructure, as well as minimizing the environmental and social impacts in the regions where they are located.”

Under the agreement, Electricité de France (EDF) will assist CFE with technical support and expertise to improve the safety of dams, and define action plans for climate risk management, in addition to studying the possibilities for implementing storage technologies, as well as the operational management in the Grijalva basin in Chiapas.

The project is part of a CFE investment plan that includes building six combined-cycle gas-fired powerplants, a US$ 4.85 billion, longer-term initiative to increase nuclear, hydroelectric, wind and solar capacity, as well as a US$ 4.46 billion overhaul of the company’s transmission capacity.

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