Assessment of the Geothermal Development of Mexico

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Mexico, with a 60 million population has an extension of almost 2 million square kilometers. A large number of volcanoes and hydrothermal manifestations are found in the area, particularly along the Pacific Coast. The electricity needs of this country require its installed capacity to be doubled every eight-and-a-half years. Although its main energy source is the hydrocarbons, new sources of energy are being investigated and developed. In 1973, at Cerro Prieto, a 75 MW plant was inaugurated utilizing geothermal steam, initiating in this way commercial exploitation of this energy. From there on an uninterrupted program of exploration and development has ... continued below

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7-13-7-18

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Dominguez, B.; Bermejo, F. & Guiza, J. December 1, 1980.

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Mexico, with a 60 million population has an extension of almost 2 million square kilometers. A large number of volcanoes and hydrothermal manifestations are found in the area, particularly along the Pacific Coast. The electricity needs of this country require its installed capacity to be doubled every eight-and-a-half years. Although its main energy source is the hydrocarbons, new sources of energy are being investigated and developed. In 1973, at Cerro Prieto, a 75 MW plant was inaugurated utilizing geothermal steam, initiating in this way commercial exploitation of this energy. From there on an uninterrupted program of exploration and development has been followed, along and across the country. Probably the region with the highest potential of geothermal energy is the New-volcanic Belt, a zone 300 kilometers wide which crosses the country from the Pacific Coast to the Gulf of Mexico Coast. In this zone, the geothermal fields of Los Azufres, Los Negritos, Ixtlan de los Hervores, La Primavera and San Marcos are located. Sixteen wells have been drilled at Los Azufres, 14 good producers with an average temperature of 275 C. An area of 385 square kilometers is estimated can be exploited for steam production. By 1981, it is expected to have four wellhead turbogenerators rated 6 MW each. Two geothermal wells are now being drilled at La Primavera, with very good results. Temperatures of 275 C have been found at a depth of 800 m in the first well of the Rio Caliente module. The first two wells are now being drilled at Los Humeros geothermal zone. To date, 80 wells have been drilled at Cerro Prieto. In the last group of wells the producing stratum was found at a depth between 2000 and 3000 m. The temperature of this stratum is about 340 C, and each well has an average output of 200 tons per hour. Research is now being conducted to solve the problems encountered of casing corrosion, and for the development of better cementing materials and improved cementing techniques, since the results obtained have not been entirely satisfactory, being the life of the geothermal wells shortened, increasing the cost of power generation. Since its inauguration in 1973, Cerro Prieto has been generating electricity continuously, with increasing annual plant factors, better than 90 percent in the last three years. As of this date, the installed capacity at Cerro Prieto is 150 MW. The installation of a fifth unit of 30 MW is now underway. This unit will utilize low pressure steam flashed from the separated water, now being discarded from units 1 to 4. A flashing plant is currently being installed for this purpose. This means a 20 percent increase without drilling more wells. Future plans are the construction of two more plants of 200 MW each, for a total of 620 MW for May 1983. These units will be operating at slightly higher pressures than the existing ones. It is estimated that a total capacity of 40,000 MW could be installed by the year 2000, using steam obtained from the known geothermal areas of Mexico.

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7-13-7-18

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  • Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Geothermal Conference and Workshop, Conference Proceedings, December 1980

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  • Report No.: EPRI-TC-80-907-32
  • Grant Number: None
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 892247
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc874568

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • December 1, 1980

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Dec. 6, 2016, 7:07 p.m.

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Dominguez, B.; Bermejo, F. & Guiza, J. Assessment of the Geothermal Development of Mexico, article, December 1, 1980; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc874568/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.