Italy-based energy infrastructure developer Enel Group announced that its Mexican renewable energy subsidiary, Enel Green Power México (EGPM), has completed and connected to the grid around 1,089 MW of solar energy in Mexico.
The new capacity includes the Villanueva solar park, of about 828 MW, located in the municipality of Viesca, in the State of Coahuila, and the Don José solar park, of approximately 260 MW, located in the municipality of San Luis de la Paz, in the State of Guanajuato.
Investment in the construction of the two projects amounted to approximately US$ 950 million, of which US$ 710 million were allocated in Villanueva while the remaining US$ 240 million went to the Don José facility.
“Villanueva and Don José are two groundbreaking projects that mark the significant headway Enel Green Power has made in the strategic Mexican market. The completion of the two facilities helps solidify our leadership in the country in terms of renewable capacity, while further contributing to the country’s transition towards more sustainable energy,” said Antonio Cammisecra, Head of Enel Green Power (EGP). “Through the development of these projects, EGP is leveraging on Mexico’s wealth of renewable resources and confirming its commitment to sustainability by delivering value to all its stakeholders.”
The two projects were awarded to the Enel Group in the first long-term auction, held in March 2016, following the country's Energy Reform.
Villanueva, whose construction started in March 2017, is the largest operating solar plant in Mexico and Enel's largest solar project worldwide. The project comprises over 2.5 million solar panels, capable of producing more than 2,000 GWh per year as well as avoiding the emission of over 1 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Don José, whose construction began in April of last year, is composed of more than 810,000 panels, capable of producing over 625 GWh per year, as well as avoiding the emission of over 340,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Last May, Enel Green Power increased the capacity of Villanueva, to 828 MW from the original 754 MW, and Don José, to 260 MW from the original 238 MW, after implementing a 10% capacity extension option included in the energy sales contracts for both plants.
The construction of these parks is based on Enel's "Sustainable Construction Site" model, which includes the measurement of the socio-environmental impact of the projects and actions aimed at improving this indicator, through water treatment systems, waste recycling and training of the local population.
Specifically, the Villanueva project team held furniture-making courses for local communities, using 2.6 tons of pallet wood and boxes used in construction works. In addition, to preserve local ecosystems, the project team relocated to the plant’s surrounding areas more than 150,000 flora specimens, such as various types of cacti, and over 25,000 fauna specimens, including frogs, snakes and lizards.
At the same time, the Don José project team relocated to the wind farm’s surrounding areas more than 1,000 local flora specimens, including cacti and palm trees. The team also carried out initiatives to support local communities, including through furniture donations to households damaged during last year’s rainy season.
Villanueva and Don José bring the total renewable capacity connected by EGP to grids around the world from January to date to approximately 1,553 MW.
Enel Green Power Mexico is the largest renewable energy operator in the country in terms of installed capacity and project portfolio.
Currently, the company operates around 1,816 MW, of which 675 MW come from wind energy, around 1,089 MW of solar energy and 53 MW of hydropower. In the state of Coahuila, Enel Green Power is completing the 200 MW Amistad wind farm and has started building the 100 MW Amistad II wind facility, while in the state of Tamaulipas the company is building the 103 MW Salitrillos wind farm.