Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Geothermal Country Notes
Reflecting the country's location in a tectonically active region, geothermal manifestations are particularly prevalent in the Mexican Volcanic Belt (MVB), as well as in the states of Baja California and Baja California Sur. Development has, in the main, been concentrated on electric power production, although there is a small amount of geothermal power used for direct purposes.
At the present time the country has four operational fields, with a total installed capacity of 953 MWe: Cerro Prieto (northern Baja California), 720 MWe (13 condensing units, ranging from 25 MWe to 110 MWe); Los Azufres (MVB, 250 km west of Mexico City), 188 MWe (14 condensing, back-pressure and binary units, ranging from 1.5 MWe to 50 MWe); Los Humeros (MVB), 35 MWe (7 x 5 MWe back-pressure units) and Las Tres Virgenes (northern Baja California Sur), 10 MWe (2 x 5 MWe condensing units).
It has been estimated that there is a potential of 500 MWe for additional power generation from extensions to the four existing fields and development of new zones. Planned projects include construction and installation of about 200 MWe in the present fields of Cerro Prieto, Los Azufres and Los Humeros and the Cerritos Colorados project in a fifth field - La Primavera (MVB).
Geothermal heat used directly is predominantly utilised for bathing and swimming. The reported 156 MWt installed capacity is widely distributed throughout the country. Minimal amounts of direct heat are utilised for space heating, greenhouse heating, agricultural drying and mushroom breeding. Geothermal heat pumps are virtually unknown.