Acciona Energía to build its first solar plant in Sonora, Mexico
Spain-based Acciona Energía, in a joint venture with Mexico’s Tuto Energy, has been awarded the supply of 478 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of renewable energy and the corresponding amount in clean energy certificates (CELs) in the second long-term energy auction for the wholesale electric power market organized by the National Energy Control Center (CENACE) of Mexico, the company revealed in a press release.
The result of the competitive auction will allow ACCIONA to build its first solar plant in Mexico: a 227 MWp (180 MW nominal capacity) photovoltaic plant in the state of Sonora.
“The new contract reinforces ACCIONA commitment to the development of a vibrant renewable energy industry in Mexico, where it is the leading wind power operator, accounting for 18% of operational capacity at the end of 2015”, according to the statement.
The project – named ‘Puerto Libertad’ – is planned on a site six kilometers north-west of the town of the same name in the northern State of Sonora. Acciona Energía will build the turnkey installation for the joint venture named AT Solar, set up by Acciona Energía (50%) and Tuto Energy (50%), a subsidiary of Biofields group, which has 3,800 hectares of land in Puerto Libertad set aside for renewable energy projects.
Completion of the construction work is planned for late 2017, with the plant entering commercial service in early 2019. The output of the solar plant will be sold to the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) under a long-term contract spanning 15 years of electricity production and 20 years of clean energy certificates. The contract with the CFE is expected to be signed before 31 January 2017.
The solar energy produced at the Puerto Libertad plant will be sufficient to power 285,000 Mexican homes per year, while avoiding annual emissions of more than 460,000 metric tons of CO2 from conventional coal-fired power stations.
395 MW awarded in two auctions
As a result of Mexico’s two energy auctions this year, Acciona Energía will build a total of 395 MW in new capacity: a 168 MW wind farm in the state of Tamaulipas, as a result of winning 585.7 GWh of wind power in Mexico’s first energy auction in March, and the 227 MWp solar plant resulting from the latest auction.
“We are pleased to have been awarded a second energy supply contract in an auction organized by CENACE – on this occasion with our partners Tuto Energy – in a particularly hard-fought tender. It will allow us to build a great photovoltaic project in Mexico and showcase our expertise in the two renewable technologies which are driving ACCIONA Energía’s growth strategy, in addition to strengthening our position in the country,” Miguel Ángel Alonso, Acciona Energía’s Mexico Director, says.
Currently Acciona owns four wind farms in Mexico, all in Oaxaca, totaling 556.5 MW. It has also built the Ventika (252 MW) wind power complex in Nuevo León and the Ingenio (49.5 MW) wind farm in Oaxaca for clients
By the end of the year, the company will have installed 389 MW of solar PV plants in Chile, South Africa, Portugal and Spain. The Puerto Libertad plant will take Acciona’s solar capacity over 600 MWp.
Very Competitive Bids
A total of 66 companies qualified to bid in Mexico’s second power auction; 57 submitted offers and 23 were awarded contracts. A total of 8,909 GWh was awarded, of which 54% corresponds to photovoltaic plants and 43% to wind farms. The average bidding price was 44.2% below the maximum price set by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). The capacity awarded at the second auction accounts for 3% of annual electricity generation in Mexico and will require an investment of approximately $4 billion in new energy facilities.
The auction forms part of Mexico’s plan to integrate renewables into the electric power system under an Energy Reform approved in 2013. According to the government’s target, 35% of Mexico’s electricity supply will come from renewables by 2024.