Huexca Plant Restarts Construction Following Social Issues
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Huexca Plant Restarts Construction Following Social Issues

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Cas Biekmann By Cas Biekmann | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Tue, 11/24/2020 - 15:50

The construction of the combined cycle power plant located in the Huexca community in Morelos re-initiated early on Monday, CFE reported. The construction has entered its final phase and work is expected to conclude in 10 to 15 days, El Financiero reported.

The Huexca plant has faced juridical struggles since its inception in 2011, due to water pollution problems that led locals to stop its construction. Nevertheless, President López Obrador fast-tracked the project in September, promising to bring it online by the end of 2020 and solve the environmental concerns associated with the project. Construction plans are to install a 142m pipe to transport sewage.

CFE was able to resolve its juridical issues with the surrounding communities by refraining from using the water of the Cuautla River, instead opting to use treated sewage. Furthermore, CFE carried out paving and other urban infrastructure works that represented an investment of MX$236 million (US$11.75 million) as part of its social work. Luis Bravo, Communication Coordinator at CFE, furthermore clarified that there were no longer amparos against the state utility from carrying on with its work: resuming operations were approved by the majority of the population of Morelos via a consultation process. Pablo Ojeda, Secretary of Government for the state of Morelos, added that 26 of the 32 ejidos had endorsed the project as well. Those protesting against the project who had been camping on the site had agreed to vacate their positions, CFE said.

Once operational, the power plant will generate sufficient electricity to meet 80 percent of demand in Morelos. “Generating electricity in the entity will allow us to maintain energy prices and grant the lowest rates to the surrounding communities,” noted Bravo. The Huexca power plant represents 642MW of capacity and relies on natural gas to power its turbines, with another turbine installed to generate even more energy by using excess steam from the gas turbine.

During his visit to the Huexca community in February 2020, President López Obrador stressed the importance of the project. “If this plant does not operate, we would have to buy energy from private, foreign companies. I say this with complete clarity so that those who wave the flags of opposing the plant, even for ideological reasons, also take this element into consideration.”

The plant will consume 80MMcf/d of natural gas to produce relatively clean electricity. Due to the plant’s efficiency, more than 339,000 tons of carbon dioxide will no longer be emitted into the atmosphere compared to other thermoelectric plants, CFE pointed out.

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