Petacalco power station

From Global Energy Monitor


The 2100 MW Petacalco power station and its 678 MW Pacífico expansion collectively form the Central Termoeléctrica Presidente Plutarco Elías Calles, a 2778 megawatt (MW) coal- and fuel oil-fired power complex in Petacalco, Guerrero, Mexico.


The undated satellite photo below shows the Petacalco plant, which is near Petacalco, Guerrero.

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The Petacalco power station is Mexico's largest coal-fired power plant, and the third largest overall among the country's 71 power plants.[1] Petacalco's six original 350 MW units were brought online in 1993 and 1994.[2] In 2010 the 678 MW Pacífico expansion unit (sometimes referred to as unit 7) was added to create a seven-unit plant with a combined gross capacity of 2778 MW.[3] The Petacalco plant generates roughly 7% of Mexico's electricity.[4]


The Petacalco plant uses a dual-fuel system, with units 1 through 6 capable of running on coal or fuel oil[5][6]; the Pacífico expansion unit is fueled exclusively by coal.[6] Coal for the plant has traditionally been imported from Australia, Colombia, Canada, the United States and Asia through the Port of Lázaro Cárdenas[3][5][7], because Mexico's domestic coal, mostly produced in Coahuila state, does not meet the Petacalco plant's thermal specifications.[5] Under the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the Petacalco plant has increased its consumption of fuel oil and reduced its consumption of imported coal, in accordance with government policies favoring domestically produced fuels.[5][6][8][9]

According to the 2021 annual report of Mexico's federal electricity commission (CFE), domestic liquid fuels played an important role in powering the Petacalco plant throughout 2021.[5][10] As of November 2021, news sources reported that the plant was operating at only 30 to 40% of its capacity, with units 1, 4 and 7 out of service due to fuel shortages[6]; CFE acknowledged that only three units of the plant were operating, but maintained that it was providing adequate supplies of fuel, including coal, to the plant.[11][12][13]

Pacífico expansion project

The Pacífico expansion project, known locally as Carboeléctrica Pacífico or by its official name Proyecto 62 CCE Pacífico, was a proposed three-unit addition to the plant. The first unit, Pacífico I, was brought online in March 2010. The other two units, Pacífico II and III, were announced as potential long-range projects but subsequently cancelled.

In December 2005, Mexico's Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) contracted Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to begin construction of the Pacífico addition, which was announced as Mexico's first supercritical coal-fired power plant.[2] The Pacífico I expansion (also known as Petacalco Unit 7) began commercial operations in March 2010, with a gross capacity of 678 MW and a net capacity of 651 MW.[14]

Two additional units (Carboeléctrica del Pacífico II y III), projected to generate another 1400 MW, appeared in the Mexican government's 15-year energy plans issued in 2011, 2012, and 2013. However, estimated completion dates for both projects slipped with each annual update. In the government's 2011 report, both plants were listed with projected completion dates between April 2021 and April 2023.[15] In the 2012 report, projected dates had slipped to 2024 for Pacífico II and 2025 for Pacífico III[16], and in the 2013 report, the dates were 2024 and 2026, respectively.[17] Neither plant appeared in the 15-year plan issued in 2014, and the 2014 report noted that price competition from natural gas had prompted a reduction in Mexico's use of coal for electricity generation[18], projecting that coal-fired plants would produce only 4.5% of Mexico's electricity by 2028 (down from 9.7% in 2012).[19]

Environmental impact

Video: The coal power plant that causes death - Source: Mexicanos Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad

The Petacalco power complex has had significant negative impacts on human health, marine life, fisheries and agriculture in northwestern Guerrero state.[20][21][22] The Petacalco plant burns an average of 7 million tons of coal per year and has been described as one of the world's worst polluters. Its annual emissions of carbon dioxide and mercury (over 15 million tons, and 711 tons, respectively) are the highest of any power plant in Mexico. In addition, it ranks second nationally in annual emissions of nitrous oxide (228 tons) and methane (152 tons), third in nitric oxide (over 24,000 tons), and fifth in sulfur dioxide (152 tons per year). Air and water pollution traceable to the plant have created multiple negative impacts for surrounding communities, including depletion of fisheries, loss of mangrove habitat, and high concentrations of coal ash and other particulates that threaten residents' health.[3] The Petacalco power plant, together with the José López Portillo and Carbón II power stations in Coahuila state, accounts for 22% of the GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions from Mexico's electricity sector while contributing only 10% of national electricity production.[1][23][24]

Citizens' groups have organized frequent protests and meetings with Guerrero state government officials to highlight their concerns about the Petacalco power station's environmental and health impacts, including severe air pollution and contamination of local fisheries.[25][26][27][28]

Project details (original Petacalco power plant)

  • Sponsor: CFE (Comisión Federal de Electricidad)
  • Parent company: CFE (Comisión Federal de Electricidad)
  • Location: Petacalco, Guerrero, México
  • Coordinates: 17.98365, -102.115439 (exact)
  • Status: Operating[29]
  • Gross capacity: 2100 MW[2]
    • Unit 1: 350 MW[2]
    • Unit 2: 350 MW[2]
    • Unit 3: 350 MW[2]
    • Unit 4: 350 MW[2]
    • Unit 5: 350 MW[2]
    • Unit 6: 350 MW[2]
  • Type: Supercritical
  • In service:
    • Unit 1: 1993[2]
    • Unit 2: 1993
    • Unit 3: 1993
    • Unit 4: 1993
    • Unit 5: 1994
    • Unit 6: 1994[2]
  • Coal type:
  • Coal source: Australia, Colombia, Canada, United States[3], Asia[5]
  • Source of financing:

Project Details of Pacífico expansion

  • Sponsor: CFE (Comisión Federal de Electricidad)
  • Parent company: CFE (Comisión Federal de Electricidad)
  • Location: Petacalco, Guerrero, Mexico
  • Coordinates: 17.98365, -102.115439 (exact)
  • Status:
    • Unit 1: Operating
    • Unit 2: Cancelled
    • Unit 3: Cancelled
  • Gross Capacity:
    • Unit 1: 678 MW[30]
    • Unit 2: 700 MW
    • Unit 3: 700 MW
  • Type: Supercritical
  • In service: 2010[30]
  • Coal Type:
  • Coal Source: Australia, Colombia, Canada, United States[3]
  • Source of financing:

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 Badillo, Diego (June 20, 2020). "Centrales eléctricas de Coahuila y el lado oscuro de la fiesta del carbón". El Economista.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 "Tecnología Supercritica para México". Power Engineering International. June 1, 2008.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Badillo, Diego (June 13, 2020). "Central carboeléctrica de Petacalco: la bonanza hecha cenizas". El Economista.
  4. "CFE adquiere carbón para Petacalco; elevará la producción". Energía a Debate. April 10, 2019.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 "Operó carboeléctrica Petacalco en 2021 sólo con combustóleo". Reforma. May 31, 2022.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "Dejó de operar la Carboeléctrica de Petacalco y no fue por mantenimiento". Energía a Debate. November 12, 2021.
  7. "CFE inicia importación de carbón por puerto Lázaro Cárdenas". Energy 21. May 6, 2019.
  8. "Programa Sectorial de Energía 2020-2024: Rescate del Sector Energético". Diario Oficial de la Federación. August 7, 2020.
  9. "Regresa Termoeléctrica Petacalco al uso de combustóleo deja de lado al carbón mineral: SUTERM". Timonel. December 27, 2020.
  10. "Informe Anual 2021" (PDF). CFE. April 22, 2022.
  11. "CFE desmiente apagón de la Central Termoeléctrica, en Petacalco Guerrero - Énfasis". Énfasis. November 4, 2021.
  12. "La central termoeléctrica de Petacalco opera con normalidad: CFE". Acapulcochada. November 4, 2021.
  13. "Falso que la central eléctrica de Petacalco cerrara por supuestos daños en su equipo". Capital 21 TV | Facebook. November 10, 2021. Retrieved 2023-01-07.
  14. "Programa de Obras y Inversiones del Sector Eléctrico 2011-2025 (p237)" (PDF). CFE. 2011.
  15. "Programa de Obras y Inversiones del Sector Eléctrico 2011-2025 (p244)" (PDF). CFE. 2011.
  16. "Prospectiva del Sector Eléctrico 2012-2026 (p126)" (PDF). Secretaría de Energía. 2012.
  17. "Prospectiva del Sector Eléctrico 2013-2027 (p149)" (PDF). Secretaría de Energía. 2013.
  18. "Prospectiva del Sector Eléctrico 2014-2028 (p39)" (PDF). Secretaría de Energía. 2014.
  19. "Prospectiva del Sector Eléctrico 2014-2028 (p113)" (PDF). Secretaría de Energía. 2014.
  20. "La carboeléctrica que produce muerte". Mexicanos Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad. July 6, 2022.
  21. "Toda la pesca se acabó en Petacalco por la termoeléctrica". Mexicanos Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad * YouTube. July 12, 2022.
  22. "Reflexiones socioambientales sobre Petacalco". El Sur Acapulco. March 26, 2022.
  23. Badillo, Diego (February 13, 2021). "La central de Petacalco es la mayor generadora de dióxido de carbono en México — ecologica". Ecológica.
  24. "Emite cenizas olor a azufre la termoeléctrica de Petacalco; arden ojos y nariz, dicen vecinos". El Sur Acapulco. 2021-05-06.
  25. "Reportan pescadores que tiene aceite el canal de descarga de la termoeléctrica de Petacalco". El Sur Acapulco. June 23, 2022.
  26. "Ya es insoportable el humo de la termoeléctrica de la CFE de Petacalco, advierten". El Sur Acapulco. March 21, 2022.
  27. "Presenta el gobierno de Guerrero estrategia de bienestar para habitantes de Petacalco". Gobierno del Estado de Guerrero. April 22, 2022.
  28. "Protestan en la termoeléctrica de Petacalco; exigen a CFE retomar mesas de diálogo". El Sur Acapulco. October 24, 2022.
  29. "Portal CFE". Retrieved 2021-11-18.
  30. 30.0 30.1 Todd M. Johnson, Claudio Alatorre, Zayra Romo, Feng Liu (2010). "Low-Carbon Development for Mexico (p 116)" (PDF). The World Bank.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

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