Abengoa runs the Agua Prieta II thermoelectric plant.
(Photo: Ernesto Bolado Martínez
The modification to the center will reduce emissions of CO2 gas by almost twenty thousand tons a year, according to the CFE.

Nevertheless, the company is facing organized resistance from the public—in this case from the Citizens for Democratic Change and the group ONGs No Afiliados (The Unaffiliated NGOs, in English) from the State of Sonora, both based in the city of Hermosillo.

“This company of so-called cutting edge technology has been shown by thousands of studies by well-known scholars to violate all of our environmental legislation in order to enrich themselves at the expense of the environment and of our people,” said activist Rosa Maria Franco O’Leary from Hermosillo.

She referred to Abengoa’s lawsuit against Mexico before the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (CIADI), resulting from the denial of a permit by the city of Zimapán in the south-central part of the country to start a toxic waste dump on its outskirts.

Through the CIADI, an arbitration arm of the World Bank headquartered in Washington, D. C., the company currently expects to  receive  96  million  dollars  from  the Mexican  public  coffers  for

Journalism to Raise Environmental Awareness
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By Talli Nauman*

The controversial Spanish company Abengoa, which holds Mexico hostage in an international trial concerning a toxic waste dump in Zimapán, Hidalgo, is now trying to extend its domination to the northwest of the country with its expansion of the thermoelectric plant Agua Prieta II in the state of Sonora.

“With this new project, Abengoa consolidates its position in the development of efficient technology in the areas of environment and energy and as a leader in the design and development of thermosolar plants in Mexico, where it has installed innovative and sustainable solutions since 1979,” the company announced on June 9.

Abengoa will put into production a 12 megawatt field of parabolic solar collectors as part of a pioneering project, the first hybrid solar/gas plant in Mexico.

Bidding was opened three times in recent years by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) to find a contractor whose price would not exceed the 50 million dollars donated by the United Nations Development Program “Global Environment Facility” (GEF) available for this purpose.

The solar radiation collectors are expected to be put into operation within 22 months.

The solar array is part of the CFE’s plan for a plant with a total value of $642 million, of which $3.24 million will come from the federal government.

In a second phase of the Agua Prieta II project, a field of solar collectors with a generator system of combined technologies will be completed that is capable of producing 464.4 megawatts. The combined system will consist of two gas turbines, one steam turbine, a heat recovery unit, systems for cooling, condensing and fueling, as well as various auxiliary systems.

However, Abengoa considers itself an “international company that applies innovative technology solutions for sustainable development in the energy and environment.”

The solar power plant at Agua Prieta II is the third of its kind in which Abengoa is involved. The first two, located in Morocco (470 MW) and Algeria (150 MW), are already in service.

Abengoa is also a partner, along with Xcel Energy, in a solar-assisted coal power plant in the state of Colorado. This project in the United States, also a pioneer project, creates some of the steam for turbine generators with parabolic concentration of sunlight.

The Cameo power plant, located in the southwestern United States, has an investment of 4.5 billion.
By reducing coal use in heating the water, the plant could achieve a 3 percent increase in efficiency, according to Xcel.

*Co-Director, Journalism to Raise Environmental Awareness

Spanish Toxic Waste Management Company
Wins Bid for Solar Plant Equipment in Sonora

having not been able to open their business and profit from its investment, at the same time that it is provoking criticism from the opposition group Todos Somos Zimapán (We are all Zimapan, in English) at a national level for the company’s lack of transparency and failure to resolve basic technical issues concerning the location of the dump for dangerous industrial wastes.

Calling this the largest movement in history against companies of this type, O’Leary stressed, “The company which proclaims itself to be in the vanguard is just as corrupt as our authorities who endorse it: it lied and swindled our people.” And she asked, “How is it possible to keep doing business with this type of company?”

Abengoa faced similar criticisms from 210 organizations in 30 countries during a 2005 campaign demanding the abandonment of the “water war” in Bolivia. The company’s affiliate there tried to privatize and control the water supply.

logo Agua Prieta
Continuing to deal with these scoundrels
shows a lack of dignity

In the case of the toxic waste dump in Zimapán, that courageous town threw out Befesa, a subsidiary of the ABENGOA group which is the same corporation that has sued Mexico for $120 million dollars plus interest since the judgment. Obviously, it is Mexicans who will end up paying. That’s how these trade agreements sponsored by the IMF and the World Bank are. So, not having been able to get their project going, they have turned to the people.  Nonetheless, while the Mexican people lose, the corporation wins. But the shamelessness of the authorities who continue doing business with these crooks is a disgrace. Of course, the great majority of our citizens are unaware of this, just like our so-called competent authorities, where cronies or friends given jobs know absolutely nothing of ecology, health, or the environment. And those who do know make fools of themselves.

The corrupt, the real culprits, are those who are ruthlessly handing over the country, those who are the dupes of the big transnationals, and who are taking advantage of the weaknesses of our authorities and the defenselessness of the Mexican people.

There is no cure as long as the same scoundrels remain in power and we Mexicans limit ourselves only to trying to fulfill our basic needs or to protecting the little we have, without noticing that it is because of this type of government behavior that we have the level of corruption and impunity that we do.

There are limits and they are pushing our people toward the precipice. I want us to have the courage to defend ourselves against this and other vile deeds being perpetrated against us every day.

*Citizens for Democratic Change and
Non-Partisan NGOs of Sonora State



Given the threat posed by the Spanish company ABENGOA’s plan to install a hybrid solar plant (as part of a gas-fueled combined cycle project) I am letting you know that this company is currently suing Mexico under the trade agreement with Spain, for having colluded with the local Mexican authorities who authorized licenses for a toxic waste facility that the company built in Zimapán, Hidalgo, Mexico.

This so-called “cutting edge” technology company has been shown in thousands of recognized academic studies to be in violation of our environmental laws, of logic, and of common sense with the sole goal of enriching itself at the cost of our community’s health and environment. The company, which promotes itself as being at the forefront, is as corrupt as our officials who back it, and it has already lied to and cheated our people. How can we continue to do business with this type of company?

History repeats itself, as in the case of the Hermosillo CYTRAR (a hazardous waste landfill), in which the Spanish company Tec-Med left 300,000 tons of toxic waste just a few miles from our capital city. The people of Mexico pay millions of dollars because, of course, lawsuits that are fixed are designed to be lost. National authorities never accept their great corruption.  And the cynics do not consider the harm to our health with which we are paying (who knows how many more generations will pay) because no one has set up real and effective monitoring of the health of the people of Hermosillo. Yet the cowardly and useless public officials still continue to deal with Tec-Med.

logo Hermosillo