Energy Efficiency Measures Expected to Improve Mexico City MetroBy Cas Biekmann | Thu, 03/18/2021 - 16:52
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum announced that the city will increase its spending on the modernization of the Metro system going from US$1.8 billion to US$2 billion. Construction work and improvements will take around three years to complete and they were considered necessary following a fire in January that brought half of the system to a full stop.
On Jan. 9, a fire in an electrical substation had dire consequences. La Jornada reported that one person died due to the fire. More than 30 people were hospitalized after inhaling smoke. Lines 1 through 6 stopped functioning entirely, stranding many travelers. Further investigations suggested that power transformers leaked oil and caused explosions, which then led to the fire. Sheinbaum pointed out that the power distribution systems in some parts of the Metro, like Line 1, are already 50 years old. To improve this aging system, Mexico City will work together with state-owned utility CFE. A future tender is not ruled out, however, according to BNAmericas.
To improve safety and energy efficiency, a power line upgrade is one of the main components of the project. Milenio reported that the original US$1.8 billion were meant to modernize the city’s Line 1, which runs from Pantitlan to Alvaro Obregon’s Obervatorio station, passing through important stations in the city’s downtown and through the intersection with Insurgentes Avenue. An additional US$200 million will be used to construct an energy distribution connection, which is set to improve the system’s voltage capacity. The city hopes that these constructions will improve the efficiency of the overall Metro system, while reducing intervals among trains and avoiding stops. Line 1 is Mexico City’s busiest connection, attending to 15 percent of daily travelers throughout the metro system, according to the city’s statistics and figures. The Pantitlan station is notoriously overcrowded.
“Supply, transmission and distribution of electric energy requires an investment from the city of around US$200 million for the next three years, to leave it in a condition that can last for more than 50 years. This year, we are going to invest US$83 million in the wiring and the transformers,” explained Sheinbaum.
To increase the energy efficiency of the system, Sheinbaum said that the system’s voltage would be increased. “The power line and the voltage on which the metro operates will be increased from 85kV to 230kV. This has great advantages in terms of energy savings."