Reuters reported this week that the nation’s wind farms will receive a massive influx of at least $14 billion between now and 2018 in a landmark move that will more than triple the country’s installed capacity,according to Mexico’s Energy Minister,Pedro Joaquin Coldwell. The nation’s wind energy capacity will increase from around 2,551 Megawatts (MW) to at least 9,500 MW thanks to the new investments.
According to the report,a blend of internationally based and Mexican companies will work together to provide the new investment dollars and boost the nation’s capacity. Mexico’s state-run electricity company,CFE,will supply a large portion of the money and plans to develop eight wind parks that will collectively generate around 2,300 MW of power and will cost around $3.55 billion. In addition,Spanish companies Iberdrola,Gamesa and Acciona plan to invest billions over the next three years.
“Hipolita Suarez,director of Gamesa for Mexico and Central America,said his firm would invest $95- million in new wind farms,$500 million in supplier development and $6 million in a service center,” Fox News reports. “Iberdrola has plans to invest up to $5 billion in Mexico.”
Finally,Acciona is already busy building three wind farms with a rough projected capacity of 2,000 MW annually,along with additional projects,totaling at least $650 million. As a nation that currently relies heavily on oil for its energy needs,Mexico is making renewable energy a priority and is keen to diversify its energy supply lines. As of Dec. 31,2014 had already installed generating capacity of 2,551 MW of wind power,according to Mexican Wind Energy Association (AMDEE) President Adrian Escofet.
Mexico currently has 31 wind farms in operation throughout the states of Oaxaca,Baja California,Chiapas,Jalisco,Tamaulipas,San Luis Potosi and Nuevo Leon,along with six more that are already under construction. According to a recent study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC),Mexico could realistically reach an efficient capacity of 20,000 MW in the future,with conservative estimates envisioning at least 12,000 MW by 2020,which would amount to about 60 percent of the power that is generated.
PWC engineers estimate the benefits of reaching this level of wind power production would be around $1.16 billion,and that at least 45,000 direct and indirect jobs would be created. The new investment plan is a direct result of the historic energy reform law passed in December of 2013,which enforces the liberalization of all energy sectors and ends CFE’s 75-year power generation and trading monopoly.
“We need to use wind,water,the sun and geothermal energy to generate electricity,” stated CFE director Enrique Ochoa Reza. “Mexico has big potential in renewable energy and its climate and geographical location make it a privileged country.”
Although the Energy Ministry’s full plan for wind energy in Mexico has not yet been made public,the program is expected to create a variety of vibrant new markets for wind and solar energy projects and to continue sparking an investment boom. Enel Green Power is also investing heavily in Mexican renewables,and First Wind has recently announced plans to push into Mexico as soon as the plans for its acquisition by SunEdison are finalized later this year,while AMDEE predicts the energy reforms will continue to spur a wave of smaller developing outfits as the nation moves to create a wholesale electricity market.
“The government is taking actions to reduce bureaucracy and expand transmission capacity to connect the extra wind capacity,” Coldwell shared. “The federal administration is also supporting investment in initiatives to increase the reliability of turbines and wind farms,and to decrease operation and maintenance costs.”