By Manuel Soberanes
MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s wind power sector is playing an expanding role in the global development of that renewable energy source, having just achieved the milestone of 1,000 megawatts of installed generating capacity, a sector leader said Wednesday.
The president of the Mexican Wind Energy Association, or AMDEE, Leopoldo Rodriguez, told Efe in an interview that that figure is significant because it represents 2 percent of the country’s total power generating capacity.
Rodriguez noted that as recently as the close of 2011 Mexico’s total wind power generating capacity stood at just 519 MW but that it has climbed rapidly due to the installation of new turbines in recent months and now is sufficient to provide electricity to a city of some 2 million inhabitants.
“And we can say with complete certainty that by 2014 at least 2,500 MW will be installed at projects already under construction or in very advanced stages,” he added.
Rodriguez, an engineer, said wind energy in Mexico has experienced rapid growth in recent years.
Projects were given a boost beginning in 2006 due to more favorable legal and regulatory conditions and from 2008 to the present they have progressed to the construction phase, he said.
Mexico also supports the sector’s development by working in close coordination with leading wind energy producers such as Denmark, Spain, Germany and the United States.
Companies in those countries are members of AMDEE, which represents project developers, component and equipment manufacturers, consultants and providers of specialized services to the wind energy industry.
The Isthmus of Tehuantepec region of southeastern Mexico, where more than 1,000 turbines have been installed, accounts for most of the country’s wind generating capacity.
“It’s been the ideal site in Mexico because it’s where the country’s most favorable wind (conditions are found) and it’s one of world’s best wind (resources),” he said.
Turbines also have been installed in the northwestern state of Baja California and projects in other states are in the very advanced stages, while enormous potential also exists in other Mexican regions.
“If we consider that wind turbine installation began in 2008 and that now we’re at 1,000 MW and much more is coming, this is because the obtainable benefit-cost ratio is sufficiently attractive,” Rodriguez said.
According the engineer, investors in wind energy incur low expenses after their initial investment and can be certain how much a project will cost 20 years in advance.
“This long-term certainty is a big advantage” and, combined with the country’s favorable wind conditions, “makes wind energy competitive versus practically any other conventional (energy) source,” the expert said.
The other big advantage “of course is that it’s a source that doesn’t emit contaminants; from the perspective of the country’s goal of mitigating greenhouse gases to combat climate change, it’s an ideal source,” Rodriguez said.
Considering the Mexican wind energy industry’s “dizzying” pace of development in recent years, long-term goals now must be set to consolidate the strides made to date, he said.
Those targets will be discussed by leading private-sector and government figures at the Feb. 14-15 WindPower Mexico conference, the first to be organized by Mexico’s wind energy sector. EFE