Mexico, in Central America, has an area of approximately 2Mkm2 and, according to a July 2005 estimation, a population of 1.06M (CIA Facts). The total electricity generated by Mexico in 2002 was 215,158GWh, broken down as: coal - 26,098GWh; oil - 79,314GWh; gas - 69,132GWh; biomass - 470GWh; nuclear - 9747GWh; hydro - 24,951GWh; geothermal 5,398GWh; solar 32GWh; and 16GWh from other sources. (IEA Energy Statistics).

With a gross theoretical hydro capability of close to 155TWh/yr and a technically exploitable capacity of 64TWh/yr, Mexico possesses a considerable hydro power potential – gross theoretical hydro potential has been estimated as 50,000MW. Hydroelectric generation is 33TWh/yr; 19% of the total electricity generated. About 50% of the exploitable potential has been harnessed, and this percentage could rise to almost 100 within a decade (International Association on Electricity Generation, Transmission and Distribution). Installed capacity of hydro power in Mexico is currently around 11,000MW.

El-Cajon project is the first large-scale hydro power project built in Mexico in more then a decade. The project has a capacity of 670 to 750MW and its cost is estimated at US$650M. The project started in January 2003 and is expected to be complete by August 2007.

Another upcoming project is Papagayo, a multipurpose scheme in the state of Guerrero with a capacity of 810MW and an annual output of 1.53TWh. The project will require a total investment of US$850M. It will be used for water supply, irrigation, flood control, pisciculture, tourism, and navigation.

In Chiapas state, on the border with Guatemala, the 4200MW Boca del Cerro Binational project (dam height 130m), with an annual output of 17.4TWh and at a cost of US$5B, is being built on the Usumacinta river.

Seven more projects in the planning and development stages are La Parota, Copainal, Quetzalli, Huixtan I, Huixtan II, Jattza, Nance, and Salto de Agua, it is estimated that these projects will have total capacity of 6295MW.

Educational programmes

• Universidad Autonoma de Nayarit, in its Licenciatura de Ingeniero Pesquero department, has three corses specialising in hydro power: Ingeniero Pesquero en Tecnología de Capturas; Ingeniero Pesquero en Administración de Empresas Pesqueras; and Ingeniero Pesquero en Recursos Acuáticos.

• At the Universidad Autónoma De Querétaro, in the faculty of Engineering and the department of Hydraulics, there is a Masters in Hydraulics.

• Universidad Autonoma Metroplitana, Unidad Iztapalapa, has a division named De Ciencias Basicas e Ingenieria. Within it are two Bachelors programmes: Hydraulic Engineering and Engineering in Energy. The university also performs research in the field of energy and hydrology.

• Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana has a bachelor’s degree in Energy Engineering and Engineering in Hidrologica.

• The institute of MITA (Instituto Mexicaano De Technologia Del Agua), has courses related to hydro power.

• At the Universidad del Noroeste, under Ingeniero en Mecatronica, there is an option to specialise in System of Conversion of Electricity.

• The University of La Salle offers Engineering in Energy Electricity and System Electronics at post graduate level, and it also offers a diploma in Quality of Energy Electricity.
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• Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexicox, in its Department of Civil Engineering, offers a Masters and PhD in Hydraulics. Another engineering programme running in the university under the Engineering Department is Engineering in Energy.

• Universidad de Sonora has a Master of Science programme with a major in Water Resource under its department of Geology. Due to high priority of water in Mexico because of its geographical location, a lot of research groups with professionals in various areas and disciplines are studying water from different points of view.

• Instituto Politecnico Nacional, has a Maestría En Ciencias Con Especialidad En Hidráulica in its department of Escuela Superior De Ingeniería Y Arquitectura.

• A Master in Hydraulic Engineering is offered at the Universidad Juárez Autónoma de Tabasco. Hydro power is also a subject of the Masters degree in Environmental Engineering and also in Electric and Mecatronic Engineering.

• Universidad Anahuac has a Masters degree programme in Electrical Engineering with a main focus on Efficient Use and Conservation of Energy. One of the courses in this degree is called Micro-hydroelectricity, and concerns the possibility of taking advantage of small streams for powering a very small unit, with a maximum capability of 20 to 50kW. The electricity generated would serve a small farm-like community with a population of maybe 100 individuals and prove economically feasible.

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