Article & Image credit to GE Reports

When Hurricane Odile hit the Baja California peninsula on September 14th, it quickly became one of the most destructive storms ever to make landfall in Mexico. It stranded thousands of tourists and left almost everyone in the Los Cabos municipality without power.

The hurricane caused mudslides, flash flooding and damage to over 100,000 utility poles. But electricity has come back on, roads have been cleared, and planes have started arriving again at the San Jose del Cabo airport.

Such planes included one of the world’s largest aircraft, the Antonov An-124. The jet can carry 150 tons of cargo and it recently made four trips to Cabo from Houston, Texas, each time filled with a mobile power plant built by GE. Mexico’s state utility, Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), will use them to pump electricity into the grid and speed up recovery.

They saw that Cabo’s power lifeline, a 100-mile long transmission line starting in the city of La Paz, was too badly damaged to be completely repaired. CFE engineers divided the area supplied by the line into three independent sectors, powering each from aging diesel generators prone to interruptions. The four turbines bought by CFE can produce about 100 megawatts of electricity.

A few days ago, GE and CFE tested the first turbine. The remaining three generators should follow in the next couple weeks. It normally takes a month to deploy a single unit, but they were able to cut that time in half.