Electricity is an abundant resource in Baja California. According to the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE / POISE, 2011), a federal government agency in charge of the control and regulation of electricity in the country, the installed capacity of electric generation in the state was 2,341 MW, equivalent to 4.6% of the capacity installed in the country. Geothermal energy has the main electric infrastructure in the country, with 720 MW combined cycle plants (496 MW from CFE, 489 MW from independent producers, and 320 MW from conventional thermoelectric power).
Baja California's electric infrastructure consists of nine generating plants and 28 generating units (CFE, s/a). There are four geothermal electricity plants, three turbo-gas plants, one combined-cycle plant, and one vapor plant.
From the 28 of the state's generating units, 13 are for geothermal energy, 7 for turbo-gas and 6 for the only vapor plant operating in the state. The combined-cycle plant has two generating units. Since 2009, the installed capacity increased 10 MW with the commissioning of the Rumorosa wind park.
Due to their geographical location, the plants, substations, and transmission lines are distributed in two areas: The Coastal Zone (Tijuana, Rosarito, Tecate), and the Valley Zone (Mexicali). The state electricity network is connected to California through two 230 KV lines, one close to Tijuana, and the other in the outskirts of Mexicali.
In Baja California, the installed generation capacity is slightly over 3,000 MW, considering both public and private services. 1,800 MW go to public services. 1,300 MW come from CFE generating plants, the Cerro Prieto geothermal plant being the most important, and 500 MW come from the La Rosita electricity plant located in Mexicali and owned by the North American company InterGen, that has an installed capacity of approximately 1,100 MW. The private electricity service has an installed capacity slightly over 1,200 MW. 600 MW come from La Rosita and 600 MW from the Sempra Energy electricity plant also located in Mexicali, and owned by the Californian Company Sempra. The private electricity service is oriented solely to electricity export, its main market is the state of California, United States.
The installed electricity capacity has increased with the use of natural gas as fuel. Such fuel replaced geothermal energy, which in 1990 represented 75% of the installed capacity. Today it represents only 27%. Combined-cycle units running on natural gas for 9 years represent 48% of the installed capacity. As demand increased, a larger installed capacity was required. That, combined with the limitations of geothermal resources, modified the energy matrix significantly. As a consequence, Baja California's energy dependence increased.
Baja California's electricity system comes from two main electricity production centers: Thermoelectric Central Presidente Juarez in Rosarito, and Geothermal Central Cerro Prieto in Mexicali.
Baja California's electricity system is affiliated to the WSCC (Western System Council Coordinator), interconnected with the American Union's system through two 230 KW connections in the cities of Tijuana and Mexicali. This strategic situation offers parameters with high voltage frequencies and profiles similar to those offered by the USA.
Mexicali protects the environment locating the geothermal plant at the end of the industrial corridor. This plant called Cerro Prieto is the largest geothermal plant in Latin America and the second largest in the world.
There are also two private electricity producers for the local market and California. Negotiations with the electricity producing plants for the energy co-generation seeking low rates for the local industry have been made possible through the Electricity Self-Supply for the Baja California Industry Program, which can generate savings of up to 50% of the service cost on peak-hours for the companies located within the state.
The city of Tijuana receives its electricity supply from the plants in Mexicali (geothermal) and Playas de Rosarito (thermoelectric). A new combined-cycle known as La Jovita on the Pacific coast operates since 2006 generating 280 additional MW.
Electricity charges are by Kilowatt/hour (Kw. /h.) and they vary according to the selected tariffs and consumption. For more information visit:Tarifas H-MCF para el Suministro y Venta de Energía Eléctrica (Spanish) http://app.cfe.gob.mx/Aplicaciones/CCFE/Tarifas/Tarifas/tarifas_negocio.asp?Tarifa=HMCF Tarifas H-SF para el Suministro y Venta de Energía Eléctrica (Spanish) http://app.cfe.gob.mx/Aplicaciones/CCFE/Tarifas/Tarifas/Tarifas_industria.asp?Tarifa=HSF&Anio=2014
It is important to consider daytime cost variations during summer due to peak-hours (12:00-18:00 and 14:00-18:00), depending on the tariff rate (H-M or H-MC). The rest of the day is considered as intermediate hours and the costs are lower. The summer period starts on May 1st and ends on October's last Saturday.
During winter the tariffs are lower. With no peak-hours, only basic and intermediate fees are applied. Intermediate hours are 17:00-22:00 Monday to Friday, and 18:00-21:00 on Saturday. The rest of the day is considered basic hours. The winter period starts on October's last Sunday and ends on April 30.
The companies with the most advantages are those that are able to program working hours, meaning, substituting peak-hours for basic or intermediate hours in their business hours. Additionally, with this internal change in schedule, the companies can avoid excessive use of lighting and machinery, which could generate a relevant reduction on the operation costs.
It is worth mentioning that the Energy Reform was recently approved in the country, amending Article 27 of the Constitution in order to allow the participation of private electricity generators, regardless of the state control over the National Electric System. This action reflects on the financial benefits of the user companies, due to the diversification of generating sources and an open competition.
Perfil Energético de Baja California