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Mexico: World Bank Approves $49.35 Million for Solar Thermal Energy

Available in: Español
Press Release No:2007/101/LAC

In Mexico: Gabriela Aguilar (5255) 54-80-4252  
In Washington: Alejandra Viveros (202) 473-4306 

WASHINGTON, October 5, 2006—The World Bank’s Board of Directors approved today a $49.35 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for Mexico to demonstrate the operation of a low-greenhouse-gas-emitting innovative technology.

The Solar Thermal Project Agua Prieta II seeks to demonstrate the benefits of integrating a solar field with a large conventional thermal facility, contribute to reducing the long-term costs of the technology, and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. The carbon emissions reduction is estimated in 391,270 tons of carbon dioxide over the 25-year economic life of the plant.

Global warming has been identified as a significant poverty and strategic issue, especially in developing countries,” said Gabriela Elizondo Azuela, World Bank task manager for the project. “By developing sources of renewable energy that take advantage of the country’s strategic geographical position, Mexico will benefit both the local economy and the global environment.”

Mexico is the ninth largest greenhouse emitter in the world. The main carbon dioxide emission sources are energy combustion (89 percent) and industrial processes (11 percent). While most of the anthropogenic emissions thought to be contributing to global warming have historically come from industrialized countries, modeling shows that in the future other countries, such as India, China and Mexico will have, although in a much lower scale, a growing contribution. Although Mexico has abundant renewable energy sources, it has only a small share of generation capacity based on either wind, solar, hydro or geothermal resources. Notably, Mexico is located within the world’s solar belt where high solar insolations allow for the efficient operation of grid-connected solar-based power generation.

The project will be located in the Municipality of Agua Prieta, State of Sonora, 6.3 km from the Agua Prieta City and 2 km from the borderline with the United States. It includes two components, but only the first one will be financed by this grant:

1. Design and construction of a 31 MW (peak) solar field. The solar collector field is composed The heat transfer fluid is heated as it circulates through the receiver and returns to a series of heat exchangers where the heat transfer fluid is used to generate high-pressure superheated steam.

2. Design and construction of a 480 MW (net) gas-based thermal plant. The superheated steam supplements steam from the heat recovery steam generator to a conventional reheat steam turbine generators to produce electricity.


The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a mechanism for providing new and additional grant and concessional funding to meet the agreed incremental costs of measures to achieve agreed global environmental benefits in the six focal areas - climate change; biological diversity; international waters; persistent organic pollutants; land degradation; and ozone layer depletion. GEF also supports the work of the global agreements to combat desertification.
The World Bank Group is one of GEF’s implementing agencies and supports countries in preparing GEF co-financed projects and supervising their implementation. The Bank plays the primary role in ensuring the development and management of investment projects. The Bank draws upon its investment experience in eligible countries to promote investment opportunities and to mobilize private sector, bilateral, multilateral, and other government and non-government sector resources that are consistent with GEF objectives and national sustainable development strategies. For further information on GEF, please visit


For more information about the World Bank’s work in Mexico, please visit     

For more information, please visit the Projects website.

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