According to the Mexican National Electricity Sector, during 2016 16,389 Gigawatts of energy were generated from coal, which represented 6.22% of the gross generation of the interconnected electricity system during that period.
Natural gas represents the largest source of energy in Mexico, with 52%, since it is the engine of combined cycle plants. It is followed by thermoelectric plants based on fuel oil (17%) and hydroelectric generation plants (11%).
Currently Mexico has three coal plants, which are summarized below:
– José López Portillo Thermoelectric Power Plant (Río Escondido), State of Coahuila, with an installed capacity of 1,200 megawatts.
– Carbón II Thermoelectric Plant, State of Coahuila, with an installed capacity of 1,200 megawatts.
– Presidente Plutarco Elías Calles Thermoelectric Power Plant (Petacalco), State of Guerrero, with an installed capacity of 2,778,360 megawatts.
This makes possible an effective generation capacity of 5,378.36 megawatts based on the use of coal as primary fuel.
According to the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), in Mexico more than 16,320 thousand tons of coal were used in the generation of electricity during 2016.
The use of fossil fuels generates emissions of greenhouse gases and acid rain into the atmosphere .
In particular, coal-fired power plants produce coarse airborne particles, which can contain heavy metals and harm the environment.
Thermal and steam emissions from these types of power plants can alter the local microclimate.
In addition, they affect the river ecosystems that are around them, due to the hot water discharges that are produced as waste from the electricity generation process.
In view of this, the Mexican government has made important efforts to reduce the use of this type of energy and to give rise to the generation of electricity with less polluting sources of supplies.
Therefore, in 2016 there was evidence of a decrease in coal generation by more than 4.98%, compared to 2015.
The investments of the Federal Electricity Commission are focused on the conversion of thermoelectric plants towards a combined cycle function, based on natural gas.
Between 2014 and 2016, seven thermoelectric generation plants were converted to dual combustion, so that, in addition to fuel oil, they can use natural gas.
These projects represent about 4,558 MW (17% of the total installed thermoelectric capacity) with an approximate investment of 2,837 million Mexican pesos.
Natural gas combined cycle plants are much more efficient (50% efficient) compared to a conventional thermoelectric plant (30-40% efficient).
This implies a significant increase in the electrical energy generated, using an equivalent amount of fuel, which makes it possible to reduce the costs associated with the generation process and favor, in turn, care for the environment.
In addition, thanks to the implementation of this type of costly and polluting fuel substitution strategies, in 2015 there was a constant trend of decreasing electricity rates for the final consumer.
- Caballero, J., Vargas, J., Ohoran, C., Valdez, C. (2008) Sources of energy saving: Coal Centrals. Chihuahua, Mexico. Recovered from: aeitch2012equipo3.files.wordpress.com
- Statistics of the Electricity Sector (2017). National Electric Sector, Sub Secretariat of Electricity. Mexico DF, Mexico. Recovered from: egob2.energia.gob.mx
- 2015 Annual Report of the Federal Electricity Commission (2016). Mexico DF, Mexico. Recovered from: cfe.gob.mx
- List of Generating Plants in Mexico (2016). Federal electricity commission. Mexico DF, Mexico. Recovered from: cfe.gob.mx
- Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (2017). Electric Power in Mexico. Recovered from: es.wikipedia.or.