Sonora solar project to start operating in April on phase one

975
Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, Governor of Sonora Alfonso Durazo and U.S. ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar visit the northern border state of Sonora where state electric utility CFE is building the largest solar plant in all of Latin America, in Puerto Penasco, Sonora state, Mexico on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. (Raquel Cunha/Pool Photo via AP) ASSOCIATED PRESS

PUERTO PEÑASCO, SONORA — Mexico was pushed to accelerate its turn toward renewable energy after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year drove a sharp increase in global energy costs, Mexico Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said late Thursday.

Ebrard made the comments after taking dozens of foreign diplomats to see a massive new solar energy project near the U.S. border.

“Mexico is making a really great effort because it didn’t consider (the shift to renewable energy and electric vehicles) would be so fast,” Ebrard said. The decisions made by the United States and Mexico in the past year to invest heavily in those areas “didn’t appear so near before the war.”

“We too have to change the focus,” he said. “It has to go faster.”

In April, Mexico plans to power up the first phase of a huge solar energy project near a beach town popular with tourists making the short drive from the United States.

Once completed, the full $1.6 billion project will have a generating capacity of 1,000 megawatts — enough to power some 500,000 homes. It will be the largest solar project built by Mexico’s state-owned electric company.

Governor of Sonora Alfonso Durazo speaks during the presentation of the “Plan Sonora de Energias Sostenibles” (Sonora Plan for Sustainable Energy) as Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard and guests listen after a visit to the solar energy plant under construction by state electric utility CFE, in the northern border state of Sonora, at Las Palomas Hotel in Puerto Penasco, Mexico, on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. (Raquel Cunha/Pool Photo via AP) ASSOCIATED PRESS

In Puerto Peñasco, near the top of the Gulf of California and the border with Arizona, rows of solar panels that tilt with the passing sun run off to the horizon hovering above the sand. The project will eventually cover 5,000 acres in the transition where the desert flattens between the rugged brown mountains and the blue sea.

The Federal Electric Commission plans to have the first 120 megawatts of the project operational by April 29, Juan Antonio Fernández, the commission’s strategic planning director, said Thursday.


Aerial view of the northern border state of Sonora where state electric utility CFE is building the largest solar plant in all of Latin America, in Puerto Penasco, Sonora state, Mexico Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. (Raquel Cunha/Pool Photo via AP)ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ebrard said the plan represented a “new model of development.”

“We’re not going to be able to do that in all of the states at the same time,” he said. “But we have to demonstrate that that idea can be real and is not wishful thinking.”

The turn toward renewable energy is at odds with other priorities of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The president has invested heavily in propping up the long-struggling state-owned oil company. He is building a big new oil refinery. And he has pushed legislation that gives advantages to the state-owned electric company over private energy production, which in many cases was cleaner. It is the subject of a trade dispute with the United States and Canada.

Source: OEM

The Sonora Post