Wind Generation Heating Up in Mexico

Wind Generation Heating Up in Mexico

This piece was originally published in the April 2017 issue of electroindustry.

Francisco M. Mendoza, National Commission for Efficient Energy Use (CONUEE)

Wind energy comes from the energy of the sun, since it is the changes in atmospheric pressures and temperatures that set air in motion, causing wind, which turns turbine blades to convert kinetic energy into electric energy.

The first wind developments in Mexico began with Federal Electricity Commission projects in Guerrero Negro (in Baja California Sur) and La Venta (in Oaxaca), in 1982 and 1994, respectively.

In 2008, the installed capacity of all renewable energy sources in Mexico was 2,000 MW, including wind. Guerrero Negro and La Venta were the only projects until 2009, when private participation led to multiple additional wind projects in Oaxaca, adding 510 MW of capacity when entering operation in 2012.

The mechanism of “open seasons” permitted the planning and development of new transmission infrastructure to accommodate wind generation resources. By 2012, wind power generation showed an average annual growth of 76.5 percent, with annual additions in capacity above 2,200 MW. At the end of 2012, nine projects with an installed capacity of 729.05 MW were in operation, of which 690 MW were installed in the state of Oaxaca.

According to the Clean Energies Progress Report, as of June 30, 2016, Mexico generated 19.68 percent of its electricity from clean sources. During the first quarter of 2016, more than 432 MW of wind turbines came into operation, an increase of 15.68 percent over 2015.

As of June 30, 2016, Mexico achieved an installed clean generation total of 20,160 MW, which represents 28.39 percent of the total national capacity. This capacity grew by 6.29 percent, compared to that recorded in June 2015.

New fields are targeted in several states, including Baja California, Zacatecas, Hidalgo, Veracruz, Sinaloa, and the Yucatan Peninsula. Oaxaca remains a key region due to geographical conditions, such as in the Tehuantepec Isthmus area. According to the National Electricity System Development Program, wind capacity may triple in the next three years, with 2,456 MW at the end of 2018 and another 3,857 MW at the end of 2019.

The development of wind generation projects in Mexico is the result of a combination of domestic and foreign investment. Many companies already have an important role in the generation and use of wind energy, including Acciona, Demex, EDF, Femsa-Macquarie, Gamesa, Iberdrola, Peñoles, Wal-Mart, Grupo Bimbo, Grupo Modelo, Mittal, Cemex and Grupo Herdez.

The Mexican secretary of energy has set targets for a minimum share of clean energy in electricity generation of 25 percent by 2018, 30 percent by 2021, and 35 percent by 2024.

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