Of all the renewable energy sources, wind power has arguably made the greatest inroads into Latin America's electricity market in recent times.

The technology has grown at a strong pace over the last five years. Installed wind capacity across Latin America and the Caribbean increased almost tenfold between 2008 and 2013, and several countries have developed sizeable pipelines of future projects.

Yet the region remains an incipient market for wind power. More than three-quarters of its installed capacity is concentrated in just two countries, Brazil and Mexico. Only recently have others started to incorporate the technology into their energy matrices on a notable scale. Furthermore, wind's presence is minor on most Latin American power grids, with an average regional penetration of roughly 2% in terms of installed capacity in 2013.

There is thus plenty of room for wind power to continue growing in Latin America, and many factors that work in its favor, such as falling installation costs, its natural complementarities with the region's energy matrices, and local wind resources that rank among the best in the world.

"I think the technology is at a scale-up stage of deployment" in Latin America, says Juan Roberto Paredes, an energy expert responsible for the technical due diligence of wind projects at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).  "We're going through the first steps, but it's likely that we'll soon see a phase of higher, sustained growth."

Figure: A Fledgling Market


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