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Site of the solar farm on the Oaxaca coast. Site of the solar farm on the Oaxaca coast. Work has been stalled since the fall.

Solar farm stalls; residents still without electricity after 10 years

Work on Federal Electricity Commission project in Oaxaca has come to a halt

Residents of a small fishing village in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region of Oaxaca continue to live without electricity because construction of a solar farm promised by the federal government is stalled.

Located on a thin strip of land between the Gulf of Tehuantepec and the Laguna Inferior, Santa María del Mar hasn’t had power for 10 years after supply was cut off by the neighboring municipality of San Mateo del Mar amid an agrarian dispute.

In December 2018, the residents lobbied President López Obrador for the construction of a power plant and he subsequently promised to build a solar farm.

A fund for the farm, which is expected to cost 45 million pesos (US $2.2 million), was created in mid-June and the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) started to build it. However, the project was delayed for 10 months because people opposed to it prevented solar panels and other materials from reaching the site.

Work restarted in August last year but was soon suspended again with only 30% of the project completed.

Efraín Solano, an advisor to the residents of Santa María del Mar, told the newspaper Reforma that it was originally anticipated that the project would be finished in March or April this year.

But it will be impossible to meet that timetable as the partially-built solar farm is currently abandoned with no clear information about when the project might resume.

“All the while, we’re still without electricity. There hasn’t been power for 10 years,” Solano said.

He said that erosion has occurred at the solar farm site and that the CFE has been informed but has disregarded the information.

Reforma reported that 20 locals hired by the CFE to work on the project are not currently being paid. The newspaper also said that residents are demanding that the state-owned company complete the project and provide details about the location of the funds promised for it.

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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