Hydroelectric plant proposed near El Golfo

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SAN LUIS RIO COLORADO, Son. -The Sea of ​​Cortez could become a source of electricity if an American company plans to build a hydroelectric plant off the coast, near El Golfo de Santa Clara, in Son.

Mareamex, a division of Tidal Electric, based in Connecticut, unveiled a preliminary proposal for a plant that would generate 500 megawatts per year, enough to meet the needs of at least 250,000 homes in the area, Baja California. neighboring or even northern California. the border.

Peter Ullman, President of Tidal Electric, recently went to San Luis Rio Colorado to present the plans of this $ 700 million plant to business leaders and leaders of the community.

He added that the company was proposing to capture water in an offshore tide lagoon covering an area of ​​18 square miles, in which electricity would be generated by submerged turbines driven by ocean currents.

"It's not an experience, it's a proven technology," Ullman said. "There are facilities of this type in use – I know one in Scotland that went into service in 1952 and still works."

He said funding for the project would be supported by a World Bank loan. Its officials, Ullman said, told the company that the proposed hydropower project and the location in Mexico would make it eligible for investment.

In response to questions posed during his presentation, Ullman said the project would benefit San Luis Rio Colorado by providing renewable and cheaper electricity. He did not provide an estimate of the number of jobs that this could create.

In its efforts to advance the plant, Mareamex has partnered with Cotemar, a Mexican company specializing in offshore energy projects, said Ullman.

In an interview, he pointed out that Mareamex was in the early stages of the project and that feasibility and environmental impact studies were being conducted as requirements for obtaining Mexican government permits.

"We have to get the permits first, before the funding arrives," he said. "There is no doubt that the technology itself is a question, but a question is whether you get the licenses or not."

He added that Tidal Electric was simultaneously developing a similar hydroelectric project in Scotland. This project is more advanced, he said, because the study phase is over.