ACCIONA Windpower, the ACCIONA Group subsidiary that designs, manufactures, and markets wind turbines, has set up the first operational plant in Mexico for the production of concrete towers for wind turbines at General Escobedo, near Monterrey. It means the creation of around 300 direct and more than 1,500 indirect jobs.
The plant produces concrete segments for the wind turbine towers in the Ventika and Ventika II wind farms, installed by ACCIONA in the State of Nuevo León for a development company consisting of Fisterra Energy, Cemex and other private investors. The total estimated investment is around 650 million dollars.
The inaugural ceremony was presided by the Governor of Nuevo León, Rodrigo Medina de la Cruz, and guests included ACCIONA Energía CEO Rafael Mateo, the Executive Director of ACCIONA Windpower, José Luis Blanco, and ACCIONA Energía Director in Mexico, Miguel Ángel Alonso.
“The creation of this tower plant shows our ability to provide innovative, efficient and profitable solutions in an increasingly demanding market, and confirms our strong commitment to the Mexican wind power sector”, said Rafael Mateo.
The Governor of Nuevo León, Rodrigo Medina de la Cruz, emphasized that the inauguration was “an example of our commitment to go in the same direction, and that ACCIONA should see the Government of Nuevo León as an ally for its business in the territory to prosper”.
Concrete tower technology
The Ventika and Ventika II wind farms, with a total capacity of 252 megawatts (MW), are powered by eight-four 3 MW ACCIONA Windpower turbines. The company will undertake the operation and maintenance of the wind farms for 15 years starting from their entry into service, which is planned for the second semester of 2016. These wind farms represent the biggest project to date worldwide using concrete towers implemented by ACCIONA . They will be equipped with AW116/3000 wind turbines with a rotor diameter of 116 meters, the rotor being situated at a hub height of 120 meters.
ACCIONA Windpower is a current leader in the use of concrete wind turbine towers, with 540 contracted for wind farms in Brazil, Mexico, Spain, South Africa, Poland and the United States, totaling 1,493 MW. Of these, 250 have already been installed on site.
The use of concrete means that greater tower heights can be achieved; it facilitates the local supply and manufacture of the segments because they can be produced in places close to the wind farms and do not require highly-specialized labor; production and transport costs are reduced; concrete is less subject to price fluctuations than steel, and major synergies can be exploited with the processes involved in laying the foundations for the wind turbine towers.
First wind operator in Mexico
The production of towers using in-house technology strengthens ACCIONA’s leadership in the Mexican wind power market, where it is the first developer in terms of owned operating capacity (556.5 MW), more than 23% of the total installed in the country.
The company is currently manufacturing 201.5 MW for wind power customers: the abovementioned Ventika-Ventika II project, and a 49.5 MW wind farm in Oaxaca for Actis and Comexhidro. These installations join the 1.5 MW wind turbine installed in 2010 for CFE on the occasion of the Climate Summit in Cancun. ACCIONA continues its renewables’ development work in Mexico, and is currently negotiating contracts with customers in this sector.