Brazil breaks wind energy record, Mexico planning geothermal energy expansion

State representatives unanimously passed the “Law for Action Against Climate Change” in the Mexican state of Jalisco. The law will broadly regulate greenhouse gas emissions by defining principles, criteria and instruments for the implementation of state policy on climate change. It also seeks to improve public transportation and reduce air pollution in the state. Furthermore, the law contains a deadline for the creation of a state environmental resource fund to be used to pay for land whose benefits are the generation of environmental services. An 8-month transition period will begin after the law is officially published to provide time for the allocation of resources and the development of necessary institutional structures after which the law will be enacted. (El Informador, 8/4/2015)

One of Chile’s most popular tourist destinations, Puerto Varas, has signed a plan to become the country’s first carbon neutral city. The Clean Production Agreement aims to promote energy efficiency and competition in energy generation to make Puerto Varas a destination for sustainable tourism. Over the course of 18 months, 30 small-medium enterprises will closely monitor and reduce their greenhouse emissions. Executive Director of the National Clean Production Council, Juan Ladron de Guevara, praises the agreement saying it’s “an effort to make the entire supply chain of tourism more sustainable.” (El Dinamo, 8/5/2015)

Orchids in the Valle del Cauca, one of the most popular states in Colombia, are on the verge of extinction due to climate change. According to a study by the University of Valle del Cauca, orchids are particularly susceptible to changes in pressure and temperature, two things which are linked to climate change. Botany Biologist Guillermo Reina-Rodriguez explains that at this point orchids have three options: adapt to the changing climate as they have historically, migrate, or go extinct. The study suggests that migration is possible since more favorable conditions for the orchids exist at altitudes between 1200 and 1400 meters. Equally concerning, the study also found evidence that almost the entirety of the dry forest found in the Valley of Cauca has been deforested and that only two percent of the original woodlands remain. (El Pais, 8/6/2015)


In an effort to curb deforestation rates, a group of Mexican researchers have developed “liquid wood” as an alternate to wood. Made from sawdust, polyester (PET), and widely used resin called high density polyethylene (HPDE), the product is lightweight, resistant to wear and highly moldable. The project was developed out of a call for products to avoid the use of pinewood by the Guanajuato Chamber of Construction. Although initial reactions from potential clients were tepid because of the material’s plastic appearance, the product shows promise as a base for fine furniture. (El Universal, 8/5/2015)


Brazil broke record last month when its wind energy sector produced an astounding 2,982 MW of energy in a single day, enough to fulfill the needs of an estimated 13 million people. Wind power in Brazil has grown by 179 percent in the past year and now represents 3.5 percent of the nation’s total energy matrix. Through the Ten Year Energy Plan (PDE 2023) released last year, Brazil hopes to increase wind energy presence in the national energy matrix to 11 percent over the course of the next eight years and increase overall renewable energy presence in the energy matrix to 83 percent by 2023. (REVE, 8/4/2015)

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved USD $14.4 million in funding for an energy efficiency and renewable energy in living spaces project in Argentina. The project hopes to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the quality of life of families through the establishment of new standards and technical specifications for the construction of energy efficient social housing. Alberto Levy, head of the IDB project team, said “there is no precedent for actions of this size and scope in Latin America.” The project calls for the construction of 128 prototype homes in eight different climate bioclimatic zones that will incorporate renewable energy and have low greenhouse gas emissions. (Inter-American Development Bank, 7/30/2015)

The Mexican Energy Ministry (SENER) announced that indigenous communities in Oaxaca have approved the construction and operation of a wind power plant. The project consists of 132 turbines and a total capacity of 396 MW and will require an investment of approximately US$888.9 million. Community approval of the project came after eight months of mediation and consultation from a joint commission of government officials from the state and municipal authorities. The wind power company responsible for the project, Energía Eólica del Sur, has committed to creating a trust to allocate resources that will reduce of the cost of electricity within the community. (Ecoticias, 8/5/2015)

After announcing the decision to double existing prospective resources in geothermal energy by 2018, the Mexican Federal Electricity Commissions (CFE) held a “Round Zero” meeting this past month to select field concessions. Since the meeting, news has surfaced that Grupo Dragón has entered into conversations with the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) to discuss the development of geothermal energy in these fields. “Round One” will begin later this month as private companies bid for 30-year concessions to the remaining geothermal fields in the country. (El Financiero, 8/3/2015 and El Economista, 5/19/2015)

This week’s blog was completed with the help of contributions from Carlos Gould.

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