MEXICO: January 23, 2007
MEXICO CITY - Soriana, one of Mexico's top retailers, is building a wind-powered generating plant to reduce high electricity costs at its stores, the company said Monday
The US$300 million power plant, which is being built in the state of Oaxaca with partner Vientos del Istmo, is due to start operating in 2009, Soriana said in a statement.
Electricity provided by Mexico's state-run power company is expensive, and poor infrastructure often leads to power surges that can damage sensitive industrial equipment, experts say.
Soriana, with revenue of about US$1.3 billion in the third quarter, said it expects the plant to power all of its more than 200 stores across Mexico.
The Istmo de Tehuantepec region of Oaxaca is one of the windiest parts of Mexico and already houses wind generation projects.
President Felipe Calderon, who began his six-year term in December, wants to change laws to allow private investment in the electricity industry.
Under current rules, companies may generate electricity for their own use but cannot sell it.
Soriana has come under increasing pressure in recent years from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and its Mexican unit Wal-Mart de Mexico , which has used a cost-slashing strategy to become the country's leading retailer.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE