Power Machines OJSC Equipped One of the Largest HPP in Mexico
La Esca is a unique hydraulic structure with one of the world’s highest earth dams with a reinforced concrete shield (it reaches a height of 220 meters). The plant is the top level of the hydropower cascade on the Rio Grande de Santiago river on the border of the states of Jalisco and Nayarit. The main power equipment for the two of the previously constructed HPPs of this cascade - 975 MW Aguamilpa and 750 MW El Cajon - was also supplied by Power Machines (they installed the same hydrogenerators at El Cajon).
Power Machines OJSC has finished work on the project of a hydroelectric power plant with one of the highest dams in the world - La Esca HPP in Mexico. It is the fifth Mexican hydroelectric power plant, equipment for which was supplied by a Russian manufacturer.
The contract for the supply of equipment for La Esca HPP with Power Machines was signed in 2007, where the latter acted as a sub-contractor of CPH, which is a subsidiary of the construction company ICA. CPH won the tender for the turn-key construction of the plant, organized by the Federal Electricity Commission of Mexico.
“I would like to stress that this contract was not obtained as a result of some kind of intergovernmental agreements,” said Igor Uskov, Chief Project Engineer of the Department of Project Execution of the Sales Directorate (external market) at Power Machines. “It was obtained as a result of the participation of Power Machines in international bids. We were competing with such companies as Voith Siemens, Vatech , and Synohidro.”
According to Anna Loginova, Project Manager of the Department of Project Execution of the Sales Directorate (external market) at Power Machines, CPH’s offer was the best one by the rebased price (the minimum cost of electricity).
Under the contract, the Russian company had to complete the project, and carry out the supply, installation, and start-up tests of hydraulic turbines and hydrogenerators, spillway gates and intake channel, hydraulic drives, cocks, transformers, current distributors, step-up substation, ventilation system, fire extinguishing system, water supply, cooling, grounding, and communication system - the whole complex of hydropower, electro-mechanical, electro-technical, hydraulic mechanical, hoisting and handling equipment.
The plant has two hydrogenerators with high voltage - 17 kV instead of the traditional 15.75 kV. The nominal capacity of each machine is 395 MVA, maximum - 439 MVA, which determines their large dimensions: the diameter of their bodies is 13.8 m, and their height is 4.4 m. Both of the hydrogenerators were manufactured by Elektrosila. In autumn 2012, hydraulic units of La Esca HPP were put under industrial load, and the Temporary Acceptance Certificates were issued. This year, it is planned to carry out guarantee tests.
The first consignment of the equipment was shipped by Power Machines in June 2009, and the final completion of the project of construction of the HPP was scheduled to June last year. However, the deadlines for starts of hydraulic units have been shifted by six months.
“During the construction we have revealed the significantly more complex geological and landslide situation,” Igor Uskov said. “This made us to work on changing the construction part of the project, increase the volume of major work, as well as the time and cost of the construction. These changes have mostly affected the hydraulic engineering installation, but, of course, to some extent, they also affected our contract.”
The construction was carried out in a heavy subtropical climate. “The building of the HPP is underground. Now we have commissioned a ventilation system there, but during the construction, people working in the engine room were getting wet in two minutes from lack of air, dense dust, and extreme humidity. It was insanely hard to stay there, not to mention working,” Chief Project Engineer said. According to him, working in Mexico is a valuable experience for Russian specialists. “Here they construct hydroelectric power plants very quickly - in four, a maximum of five years - using modern design and technological solutions to achieve high performance. The construction is carried out on borrowed money, so the object will simply unprofitable if it takes too long to complete the construction,” Igor Uskov said . “Latin America is its own world. In order to understand this, you need to live there, absorb the local culture and traditions, learn to speak with a customer in a single language, which will help you to build a trusting relationship with them leading to the successful implementation of the project and the possibility of long-term cooperation.”