This past weekend, the AMLO administration executed the public consultation that settled the fate of Huexca’s thermoelectric plant. With the participation of 53,532 voters from Puebla, Morelos and Tlaxcala states, the project was approved by a majority of 59.5 percent. President López Obrador has previously said that this facility could power the whole state. But what is the current status of energy generation in Morelos and what does this plant offer to the region’s electricity system?
Huexca’s thermoelectric plant is part of the Morelos Integral Project. This proposal is composed of a 620MW combined cycle plant, a 150km natural gas pipeline that passes through Tlaxcala, Puebla and Morelos states, a 20km transmission line that will interconnect the power facility with Yautepec’s substation and a 10km aqueduct that will deliver water to power the engine from Cuautla’s river stream.
According to the PRODESEN 2018-32, Morelos’ energy generation accounted for 0.1 percent of the country’s electricity share in 2017, locating itself in the Top 5 states that generate the least amount of energy, together with Aguascalientes, Quintana Roo, Zacatecas and Tlaxcala. That same year, the region delivered 403GWh, a 44.4 percent increase from 2016.
Power Generation Plants in the State of Morelos
The state of Morelos has nine power plants, mostly located in the central control region. Of these, eight are under the self-supply, continuous self-use (UPC) and cogeneration schemes. As such, the produced energy is delivered to off-taker companies, leaving Centro’s combined cycle plant as the only facility that can power the residential, commercial and industrial segments.
In terms of energy consumption, Morelos comes 26th, with a monthly average consumption of 233.09GWh. This means that the region produces more energy than it consumes, even in the hotter months when electricity consumption reaches a peak of 257.47GWh. Nevertheless, the thermoelectric power plant is set to boost the industrial segment in the region, that hosts important energy-intensive users such as Nissan Mexicana and Saint-Gobain.
Source: Energy Information System (December 2017 Data is not available yet)
According to Ángel Adame, President of the Coordinating Business Council (CCE) in Morelos, cancelation of this project could have increased electricity tariffs and affected the manufacturing sector. “We are convinced that this project will generate major investment in the state. Morelos is not an energy generator, which is why we have to import this commodity,” he said in an article in El Financiero.
President López Obrador says the non-operational plant costs the Mexican state MX$4 billion every year. “The fact that this power facility is not used, obliges CFE to purchase electricity from private companies” he said. Despite the public consultation, there is still a long road to go as several amparos have to be resolved for the plant to become operational. In addition, water use is still a big topic among voters and several studies will be executed by the administration to assure against any environmental fallout that could affect the economic activities and quality of life of Morelos inhabitants.