El Cortijo Windfarm, Tamaulipas, Mexico

The 158MW El Cortijo windfarm is being constructed approximately 40km south of Reynosa in Tamaulipas, Mexico. It is being developed by ACCIONA’s subsidiary, ACCIONA Energía.

Construction works on the $221m windfarm started in February 2017 and operations are expected in August 2018.

The windfarm will generate sufficient electricity for approximately 350,000 Mexican homes. It is expected to offset more than 563,000t of carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere per year.

El Cortijo windfarm make-up

The project will feature 56 Nordex AW125/3000 wind turbines with a capacity of 3MW each. The turbines are designed for reliable performance and include features such as double-bearing support on the main shaft, glass fiber and epoxy blades, and DFIG electrical generation.

Each turbine will have a rotor diameter of 125m and a swept area of 12,305m². The rotor will be regulated by an independent pitch, operating with variable speed.

The turbine will operate at cut-in and cut-out wind speeds of 3.5m/s and 25m/s, respectively. The pitch system of the turbine will comprise hydraulic cylinders and blade-independent piston accumulators on hub.

The generator is a six-pole, double-feeding type operating at a frequency of 50/60Hz and a nominal voltage of 12,000V.

Each turbine tower will be 87.5m-high and will have four sections of steel tower, while the 111t nacelle will be 10.9m-long and 4.15m-wide.

Power purchase agreement for the El Cortijo windfarm

Electricity generated by the El Cortijo windfarm will be supplied to the state-owned Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) under a 15-year agreement.

ACCIONA Energía entered an agreement with CFE Calificados, a subsidiary of CFE, for supplying Clean Energy Certificates (CELs), and signed two contracts on 11 July 2017. One CEL is equivalent to one MWh of renewable energy.

The first contract includes the supply of 49,500 CELs a year for 20 years from the Puerto Libertad photovoltaic solar plant in Sonora. The second contract is for the El Cortijo windfarm, which involves the supply of 5,000 CELs a year for 20 years.

Power transmission from the Mexican windfarm

Power generated at the El Cortijo windfarm will be transmitted from the newly constructed El Cortijo electrical substation to the Reynosa Airport electrical substation.

ACCIONA Industrial will construct approximately 28.8km of overhead lines operating at a nominal tension of 400kW and a frequency of 60Hz to transmit the power.

Contractors involved

ACCIONA awarded the contract for the supply of 56 AW125/3000 turbines to Nordex in November 2016.

Energy market in Mexico

The Mexican government introduced an energy reform in 2013 to integrate renewable energy into the country’s electric power system. As part of the reform, the National Energy Control Center (CENACE) of Mexico organised electric power auctions and awarded 5,385.72GWh to 11 bidders from seven tenders.

The renewable sector is expected to generate approximately 35% of the total electricity consumption of the country by 2024, including 12GW from wind and 3GW from solar.

ACCIONA Energía won the tender to supply 585.7GWh of renewable electricity in the first long-term power auction organised by CENACE. The company is already the leading wind power developer and operator in Mexico. It currently generates 556.5MW from four Oaxaca windfarms, representing 18% of the nation’s operational wind power capacity.