Hydroelectric Centrals in Mexico
Hydroelectric technology requires electro-mechanic equipment in the form of an turbine, an electric generator and transformers. These facilities must be placed beneath the damn’s curtain, in order to take advantage of water’s potential energy. Water is conduced into the impeller of the hydraulic turbine and its force makes the blades turn, transforming water’s potential energy into kinetic energy, which will later be transformed into mechanical energy. A generator transforms this mechanical energy into electricity. The energy created is then transported through transmission lines into distribution networks.
Hydroelectric Central “El Cajón”, began its construction in 2003 and is located in the State of Nayarit, it is one of the most important projects of its type, designed to have a capacity of 750 megawatts (MW) through a 186 meter curtain, the highest of its type in the world, and 12 million cubic meters. During its development, six thousand jobs were created and was entirely designed by Mexican engineers. In 2004 it was granted the “Deal of the Year” award by Project Finance for its financial structure, in recognition of the financial operation it took to obtain 800 million dollars in credit.
It was the largest credit granted to Mexico’s electric industry for being the only hydroelectric built in Mexico in the 10 years prior.
Hydroelectric Project “La Yesca” began in 2008 with an investment of 767 million dollars and the creation of 10 thousand jobs, direct and indirect, during the four years it will take to build it. It is expected to be concluded in June 2012. It is located in the State of Nayarit, on Santiago River, right on the border with the State of Jalisco, incorporating 750 megawatts into the national electric system. La Yesca will be 220 meters high and its basin will be able to hold 2,390 million cubic meters, equal to the amount of water consumed in Mexico City over the span of two years.
Hydroelectric Dam “Aguamilpa” in Nayarit was concluded in 1993 and is formed by a concrete curtain 187 meters high, the highest of its type in Latin America and its basin can hold up to 6,950 million cubic meters along 50 kilometers over Santiago and Huaynamota Rivers, creating a hydraulic force of 960 MW. Aguamilpa Dam not only generates electric energy, but also regulates the river flow to keep the surrounding towns from flooding.
Hydroelectric Central “Chicoasen” is located on Grijalva River in Chicoasén, Chiapas. This central has eight turbine units of 300 MW each, for a total capacity of 2,400 MW. These units began their operation in 1980 and the energy they create is transported through ten transmission lines into Veracruz and Chiapas.
Hydroelectric Central “Infiernillo” is on the border between the States of Michoacan and Guerrero on Balsas River. Its construction concluded in 1963 and is able to hold 9 million cubic meters of water, generating 960 MW. Its curtain is 149 meters high, 350 meters long and was the first dam built with these measurements in Mexico. Because this hydroelectric central is located in the area of greatest earthquake risk in the country, the dynamic behavior of its structures is continuously evaluated.
Hydroelectric Dam “Malpaso” is located on the Northeast of the State of Chiapas, 40 kilometers from where Veracruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas join. It was built between 1958 and 1966, the first and most important hydroelectric central built for developing Mexico’s southeast over Grijalva River.
Artículo Producido por el Equipo Editorial Explorando México.
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