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Spotlight

Alameda Hydroelectric Power Plant

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 17:01

Located in Malinalco, State of Mexico, the Alameda Hydroelectric Power Plant originally started operations in February 1923, becoming the fourth hydroelectric facility to produce electricity in the country. The plant, built by Siemens in 1912, had an initial capacity of 8.9MW and its three units were originally operated by Canadabased Mexican Light and Power Company. In 1937, after a decree made power generation and distribution public interest activities, CFE acquired control of the plant.

Years later it was mothballed because of flooding. The rehabilitation of the facility began in May 2015 when Generadora Fénix, a partnership between Portugal-based Mota-Engil and the SME electrical workers’ union, took over the plant from CFE. Extensive repairs to the three generating units, implementation of safety and control systems, components maintenance and replacement, civil maintenance, intercommunication systems installation, water outlet and canal and substation maintenance were carried out and the historic facility roared back to life in September 2016.

The extensive refurbishing of the facility also included the installation of a Protection, Control and Measurement panel for each unit as well as corresponding relays, metering arrays, switches and test blocks. Each generation unit at the Alameda plant has a 2,800kW capacity with 600V tension, operating at 600 RPM and 60-cycle frequency. The company is also installing communications systems to send voice, data and images to CENACE’s facilities to keep statistical productivity records.

The plant was recommissioned with the idea of eventually reaching a generation capacity of 9MW. The SME union has promised between 12 and 14 percent lower energy costs than CFE with the operation of the 14 plants it controls with Mota-Engil through Generadora Fénix under a 30-year agreement with the government that put an end to a labor dispute. Alameda is the first of the facilities to be refurbished. It required an initial investment of over US$6 million.

Mota-Engil, which controls 51 percent of Generadora Fénix, has said the plants have a total potential installed capacity of 2GW. In 2015, the company said it was developing an investment plan to duplicate the current installed capacity