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Library >> Global Energy Trends >> Existing Transmission Grids

Mexico, Vietnam, and Central America — Transmission Grids

"Mexico has a national interconnected power grid divided into four regional divisions: Northern, North Baja, South Baja, and Southern (the largest). Northern Mexico is connected to the U.S. grid, and additional interconnections are planned.

In July 2000, a cable from Eagle Pass, Texas to Piedras, Mexico connected U.S. utility AEP and CFE's transmission systems. This is a new kind of electric connection, using asynchronous HVDC (high-voltage direct-current) technology to combat the problem of differing power currents between countries.

A New Mexico utility is working on a project to connect a power station outside of Phoenix, Arizona to CFE's system in Sonora, Mexico. A proposed project aims to link Tucson, Arizona to points south of the U.S.-Mexican border. Along the Mexican-California border in Baja California, new plants are under construction to meet growing demand in Baja and to allow Mexico to increase electricity exports to U.S. markets."


"The state power company, Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), is working on a plan to develop a national electricity grid by 2020. By 2005, EVN aims to build hydropower plants in the central and central highland regions. Three hydroelectric dams, with capacities of between 285 MW and 370 MW, are planned, with the construction of the first at Dai Ninh set to begin in 2001."

"A North-South power cable transmits electricity from Vietnam's largest generator, the Hoa Binh hydropower plant in the north, to large population centers in the south, linking the country into one electricity grid. The cable has helped to alleviate an electricity shortage in Ho Chi Minh City.

The government currently is considering building more cables. Plans are underway to build an underground electric cable, an above-ground cable, and a transformer station in Tao Dan (in the Ho Chi Minh City area). Construction began in mid-2000 and is to finish in 2002. The $56-million project is being funded by the World Bank. The World Bank also is funding a $201-million project to extend distribution infrastructure into rural areas currently without electricity."


"Currently there are few electricity interconnections among the Central American nations. Guatemala's and El Salvador's power grids are linked via a 230-kV interconnect, and a separate link connects Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, but many of the interconnects are old and unreliable.

Six Central American nations (not including Belize) have discussed the construction of a Central American power grid, Sistema de Interconexion Electrica para America Central (SIEPAC). The countries have discussed the possibility of interconnecting their transmission grids in order to alleviate periodic power shortages, reduce operating costs, optimize regional use of hydroelectric power, create a competitive market in the region, and attract foreign investment.

The countries also are considering the creation of a regional electric power market. The SIEPAC project could cost more than $300 million, with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) having pledged $170 million, the Spanish government $70 million, and the Central American nations $106 million.

SIEPAC calls for 1,125 miles of transmission lines, with a capacity of 300 MW between Guatemala and Panama, as well as improvements to existing systems. SIEPAC likely will involve upgrading links and building 230-kV links between Guatemala and Honduras, and Honduras and El Salvador.

In the future, the private sector could own a stake and, eventually, state-owned power generators in some countries could be in direct competition with private plants in other countries. In addition, there are plans for a second interconnection, along the same route."


From the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) Country Analysis Briefs

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Updated: 2016/06/30

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