Mexico’s government has begun its investment in the CFE-led Puerto Peñasco project, positioned to become the world’s 8th largest photovoltaic solar power plant. The project’s first phase will cost US$424 million.
Sonora Governor Alfonso Durazo celebrated the news on twitter: “Extraordinary news! More than MX$9 billion is the investment that CFE will make toward the construction of the solar power generation plant in Puerto Peñasco,” he said. “With this plant, we will be able to obtain resources so that we can directly channel them to Sonoran families and strengthen social support programs for the most vulnerable among our population,” he added.
The photovoltaic power plant CFV Puerto Peñasco Phase 1 will have a capacity of 420MW, developed in a first stage of 120MW and a second of 300MW. “For CFE, it is very important to continue with the development of solar energy projects, as this contributes to the goals established by the federal government by supporting the diversification of energy generating sources and promoting the use of renewable energy sources,” says documentation for the project obtained by Forbes.
Puerto Peñasco is located in a favorable environment, featuring excellent solar radiation. CFE hopes to have the power plant’s Phase 1 operational by December 2023, with the first works already underway since July of this year. The state utility did not comment on developing the project’s initially promised remaining 580MW. The plant’s engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) will take place via an international tender, which the government aims to make fully transparent.
Other than satisfying Sonora’s vast energy needs, Puerto Peñasco would provide CFE a major benefit by interconnecting the isolated northern part of the Baja California grid system with the rest of the country. Baja California Sur would also be connected to this local grid through a submarine 400kV transmission line, explained Rafael Cabanillas, a researcher at the University of Sonora (Unison) and a member of the newly elected state government’s ‘Transition Team’ on energy and sustainable development issues. Cabanillas participated during this year’s Mexico Energy Forum 2021 Echo.
With a titanic 1GW capacity, the project would be considered among the world’s 10 largest solar power plants and the largest in Latin America. It will feature a 100MW battery storage too. State utility CFE is to own 56 percent of Puerto Peñasco´s predicted US$1.685 to US$2 billion investment, while a newly formed Sonoran state company would own the remaining percentage.