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Mexican Village Wants to Turn Thermoelectric Plant into Solar Panel Factory

The Central Combined Cycle Plant, located in the Nahua indigenous farming community of Huexca, in central Mexico, is practically ready to operate, but local inhabitants managed to block its completion because of the pollution it could cause, and they want to use the facility to open a solar panel factory. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS
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The Central Mixed Cycle Plant, situated in the Nahua indigenous farming group of Huexca, in central Mexico, is practically ready to function, however native inhabitants managed to block its completion due to the pollution it might trigger, they usually need to use the power to open a photo voltaic panel manufacturing unit. Credit: Emilio Godoy/IPS

YECAPIXTLA, Mexico, Feb 1 2019 (IPS) – Social organisations within the central Mexican municipality of Yecapixtla managed to halt the construction of a giant thermoelectric plant within the city and at the moment are designing a challenge to convert the installation into a solar panel manufacturing unit, which might deliver the world socioeconomic and environmental dividends.

Antonio Sarmiento, from the Institute of Arithmetic of the National Autonomous College of Mexico, outlined the thought when the state-run Federal Electricity Fee (CFE) launched the construction of the Morelos Integral Venture (PIM), which consists of a fuel and steam generating plant, a fuel pipeline that crosses the states of Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala, and an aqueduct.

“The plant can be reconverted. There are alternative uses. It can generate significant economic development in the region and make energy change possible,” the professional informed IPS, estimating that an investment of some 260 million dollars can be wanted.

“We do not need the thermoelectric plant to operate, as a result of it is going to cause irreparable injury. If the photo voltaic plant is viable, go ahead. Or they might turn it into a college, so our youngsters do not have to journey lengthy distances to research and be uncovered to violent crime. One thing worthwhile must be put in.” — Teresa Castellanos

Sarmiento calculates that using half of the world of the Central Combined Cycle Power Plant, which covers 49 hectares locally of Huexca and has a capacity of 620 megawatts (MW), would allow the installation of solar panels, the planting of crops beneath the panels, and a manufacturing unit to produce them.

“Agrophotovoltaic technology” takes advantage of the water that condenses on the panels, which drips onto the crops under, before it will probably evaporate – know-how that’s already utilized in Germany and different nations. As well as, farmers can use solar-powered irrigation pumps to access water from wells.

For this area of solar cells, with a helpful lifetime of 25 years, the era would complete 359 MW-hour per day, which might meet the consumption wants of 34,278 households. The electrical energy generated would supply the municipality and exchange power from fossil fuel-powered crops, the tutorial defined.

Huexca, house to the thermoelectric plant that’s not being constructed, about 100 kilometers south of Mexico Metropolis, has some 1,000 inhabitants, principally Nahua Indians, part of the full 52,000 individuals dwelling in Yecapixtla.

The transformation would scale back fuel consumption, methane leakage, large use of water, the era of liquid waste and the release into the environment of nitrous oxide, which causes acid rain that contaminates the soil and destroys crops.

The local wrestle

Via several judicial injunctions, the Individuals’s Front in Defence of Land and Water in Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala and its ally, the Permanent Meeting of the Peoples of Morelos (APPM), have blocked the completion of the facility plant and 12-kilometer aqueduct, in addition to the start of operations of the 171-kilometer fuel pipeline.

Huexca and different Nahua peasant communities, via legal action introduced at the beginning of the development of the facility plant in 2012, managed to cease development of the pipeline in 2017 for violating indigenous rights.

In addition, teams of “ejidatarios” – people who reside on “ejidos” or rural property held communally underneath a system of land tenure that mixes communal ownership with particular person use – blocked the extraction of water from the nearby Cuautla River to cool the turbines of the plant in 2015, and the Individuals’s Front secured, early this yr, the suspension of the discharge of handled water into the river.

On Jan. 28, a gaggle of demonstrators blocked the entrance to the Central Mixed Cycle Energy Plant in Huexca, a village within the municipality of Yecapixtla, Morelos state in central Mexico. Their signs name for President Andrés Manuel López Obrador not to betray his individuals, and to hold the plant from opening. Credit score: Emilio Godoy/IPS

Opponents of the facility plant additionally resorted to protests and roadblocks to convey to a halt a venture that impacts more than 900,000 individuals, together with 50,000 indigenous individuals from 37 indigenous tribes, according to a 2018 estimate by the autonomous governmental National Human Rights Fee.

Now, they want leftist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who took office on Dec. 1, to cancel the Morelos Integral Undertaking and attain an settlement with the local population on the destiny of the plant.

“We don’t want the thermoelectric plant to operate, because it’s going to cause irreparable damage. If the solar plant is viable, go ahead. Or they could turn it into a university, so our children don’t have to travel long distances to study and expose themselves to violent crime. Something worthwhile should be installed,” activist Teresa Castellanos advised IPS.

Castellanos, a member of the APPM, has been concerned in the battle towards the plant from the start, which has earned her persecution and threats. For her activism, she gained the Prize for Ladies’s Creativity in Rural Life 2018, awarded by the Geneva-based non-governmental Ladies’s World Summit Foundation.

The opposition to the plant by the affected communities, who make a dwelling growing corn, beans, squash and tomatoes and raising cattle and pigs, focuses on the shortage of consultation, the menace to their crops due to the extraction of water from the rivers, and the dumping of liquid waste.

Mexico’s power outlook

Within the first half of 2018, Mexico had a complete put in capability of 75,918 MW, of which 23,874 MW come from clear applied sciences. The capability of unpolluted sources grew virtually 12 % with respect to the first half of the earlier yr.

Mexico assumed a clear electrical energy era objective of 25 % by 2018, together with fuel flaring and enormous hydroelectric dams; 30 % by 2021; and 35 % by 2024.

But the reality is that the renewable matrix is just round seven %, although it might reach 21 % by 2030 with policies aimed toward fomenting it, in accordance to knowledge from the Worldwide Renewable Power Company (Irena).

By 2021, greater than 200 clear power turbines are to come into operation, producing 19,500 MW. Of these 200, 136 are photo voltaic and 44 rely upon wind power, in accordance to the Power Regulatory Fee.

As López Obrador reiterated through the election marketing campaign, his power plan consists of the construction of a refinery within the southeastern state of Tabasco, the upgrading of the Nationwide Refinery System’s six processing crops and of 60 hydroelectric crops, as well as funding in photo voltaic power.

The president continues to refuse to shut crops of the state generator CFE, due to the need to meet the rising power demand of this Latin American nation of 129 million individuals, the second largest financial system in Latin America.

In accordance to authorities funding tasks for 2019, state-owned oil big Pemex would have at its disposal about 24 billion dollars for oil exploration and extraction, the overhaul of six refineries and the start of development of another.

For its half, the CFE can be in a position to spend some 23 billion dollars on tasks such as the renovation of 60 hydroelectric crops and the development of photo voltaic power.

The photo voltaic panel manufacturing unit that’s proposed instead for Huexca, might, in truth, cowl a big deficit in know-how and inputs within the photo voltaic power sector in Mexico, say specialists.

Hopes for change

López Obrador plans to visit the world on Feb. 11 and has requested that a file be put collectively on the generator in order to determine the way forward for a development venture which to date has value around one billion dollars.

The native population does not want to see seven years of wrestle towards the plant go to waste. “We need alternatives. We voted for López Obrador, he can’t let us down. We are only demanding respect for our right to life,” stated Castellanos, the activist.

For Sarmiento, the tutorial, the environmental and well being damages can be larger if the plant goes into operation. “The maintenance of the plant will be more expensive than solar generation. And what will happen when it reaches the end of its useful life? It will be useless,” he stated.

In the meantime, the inactive smokestacks of the unfinished plant are ready for a sign to belch out smoke and the electrical pylons are rusting with no energy to transport. Maybe they by no means will, if the native residents have their say.


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