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Despite the country’s tremendous potential, the uptake of wind energy in Mexico has been slow, mainly due to the lack of government incentives for the use of renewable energy and the lack of a clear regulatory framework that would allow for private sector participation in the development of wind facilities. At present, Mexico has a total installed capacity of 85 MW.
In 1984, the Confederation for Electricity (CFE - Comisión Federal de Electridad) built the demonstration project La Venta I with seven wind turbines and a total capacity of 1.6 MW, located south of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, 30 km Northeast of Juchitán in the state of Oaxaca.
Another individual 600 kW plant was put into operation by CFE at the end of 1998 near Guerrero Negro in the federal state of Baja California Sur, operating in an isolated urban grid.
In October 2006, a bid for an 83.3 MW wind facility, La Venta II, and a demonstration project was granted to the Spanish consortium Iberdrola-Gamesa, for 98 turbines of 850 kW each. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) launched a programme to subsidise the cost per kWh of electricity produced at La Venta II in order to allow CFE to comply with its legal obligation to purchase power at the lowest cost. This programme is being implemented by the World Bank.
In terms of private sector involvement, a number of companies have participated in wind energy development in Mexico, including major players such as Cisa-Gamesa, Demex, EDF-EN, Eoliatec, Fuerza Eólica, Iberdrola, Preneal and Unión Fenosa. The combined development portfolio in private wind energy facilities could reach 2,600 MW in Oaxaca and 1,000 MW in Baja California for the period from 2008 to 2010.
The monopoly of the state suppliers is the main obstacle to a more widespread use of renewable energy in Mexico. In addition, larger projects have failed to materialise due to the lack of favourable building and planning legislation, as well as the lack of experienced developers and officials. Moreover, strong pressure to provide electricity at very low prices has failed to make wind energy installations economically viable.
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