A new day for Mexican wind power could be around the corner

Mexico’s government and private investors are working together to set the stage for a rapid and radical increase in the amount of wind energy in the country of 111 million people.

According to a recent report in RenewableEnergyWorld, spokesmen for the Mexican wind farm industry are predicting the still small power-generating sector is aiming to increase by six times its installed capacity by 2014.

Aided by new government incentives, the story notes the wind energy sector could expand within three years its installed capacity — at a cost of about $5 billion — to 3,000 MW from the current 500 MW.

“The wind turbines projects have taken off and we should have nearly 3,000 MW in three years,” the story says, quoting Fernando Tejeda, president of the Latin American Wind Energy Association.

The report adds Eduardo Centeno, of the Mexican Wind Power Association, agrees. “The government is launching a lot of economic incentives to make this happen,” it quoted Centeno as saying.

Sparking most of this massive expansion is a proposal for 2,000 MW in new installed wind farm capacity in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. The Oaxaca project will see the installation of up to 14 wind farms within three years, the story says, adding several Spanish companies that are involved should do well because the area has such good wind flows.

“Oaxaca has a lot more wind than Brazil or Europe so you get a higher output/cost benefit,” Tejeda was quoted as saying, adding the proposed complex’s wind-turbine efficiency ratings stand at 40% compared to 20% in Spain, Denmark or Germany.

The story noted Tejeda also said he expects wind power will someday supply Mexico with 20% of its electricity needs, compared to the 1% it currently supplies.

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) also believes Mexico’s wind energy potential to be among the best in Latin America.

However, in its 2009 annual report, GWEC said the Mexican wind energy industry faces numerous problems, such as insufficient transmission infrastructure, unclear rules for power transmission, and a lack of specific support mechanisms or other incentives.

The GWEC report said other obstacles to expanding Mexican wind power also include a weak judicial system, problems with long-term land leasing and conflicting objectives of the national utility and renewable energy project developers.

Having said that, GWEC added around 3,600 MW of wind farms could be operational in Mexico by 2014.

By Chris Rose, blog.ewea.org/