Mexico's expanding wind power footprint

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Mexico has wind farms in 10 states, but the number will grow to 17 by 2020, according to the country's wind power association Amdee.

The nation is becoming an important player in the wind stakes, with installed capacity expected to reach 3.9GW by the end of the year and 12.8GW by 2020.

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Oaxaca currently boasts the bulk of the country's wind capacity – Amdee forecasts the state will have 2.8GW installed by the end of the year. Tamulipas is expected to have 302MW and Nuevo León 274MW. New states to add wind generation over the next four years include Durango, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Querétaro, Veracruz and Zacatecas.

Wind power in Mexico offers great potential for foreign investors, the director general of the country's foreign trade bank (Bancomext) has said. The lender offers preferential financing for renewables projects. In April, Bancomext and German development bank KfW signed two credit lines for up to 180mn euros (US$203mn) to finance renewable energy projects in the Latin American country.

Here is a look at some of the wind projects in the early stages of development:

La Amistad (Coahuila state)

Work is scheduled to begin this quarter on the first phase of the La Amistad project, planned by German firm Sowitec 45km north of Ciudad Acuña. It will comprise 40 turbines and is due to be followed by a second phase to bring the total to 90. The company has not revealed the farm's planned megawatt capacity. The project had been delayed while alternative routes were studied for associated transmission lines. This will be the second wind farm in Coahuila state, as Mexican mining firm Industrias Peñoles and Portugal's EDP Renováveis (EDPR) are building a US$350mn as yet unnamed 180MW facility in General Cepeda municipality that will initially comprise 97 turbines and eventually be expanded to 400.

La Bufa (Zacatecas state)

The first wind farm in Zacatecas state will be a 130MW facility being developed by Tijuana-based Mexico Power Group. It will supply electricity to federal power utility the CFE, and use Gamesa turbines. Construction began in July.

Tamaulipas I (Tamaulipas state)

The US$271mn, 200MW wind farm in the state of the same name is being developed by the CFE. It is located in Matamoros municipality and is slated to enter operations in 2018. The CFE also plans a Tamaulipas II farm, slated for 2019 delivery.

Tamaulipas currently has one wind farm in operation, 54MW El Porvenir. In July, Spain's Acciona signed a 15-year contract with CFE for the delivery of 585.7GWh annually from a 168MW wind farm in Tamaulipas, slated to enter operations in 2018. Acciona will also build the El Cortijo wind farm in Tamaulipas after having been awarded a contract in the country's first electric power generation auction in March.

Tizimin (Yucatán)

Located near Mérida in Yucatán state, this farm is a project awarded in the March auction to development consortium Energía Limpia 2010. The farm will have a 76MW capacity and is slated to enter operations in 2018.

Chacabal I

Also located in Yucatán, this 30MW, 15-turbine farm is being developed by Aldesa Energías Renovables and will later include Chacabal II, an adjacent project that will also have 15 turbines.