Foreign-built wind farms in Mexico trigger protests

Over recent years there has been a concentration of foreign companies building wind farms on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, in the south of Mexico, known for its high wind speeds.

However, a number of these projects have angered indigenous communities, who believe the wind farms threaten their traditional farming methods. In some cases this has led to violent protests.

Indigenous groups have blocked two projects in Oaxaca, including the 396 MW Marena Renewables, which is being developed by a consortium of investors from Australia and Japan, as well as Mexico. Five were reportedly injured.

If the Marena Renewables wind project goes ahead, it will be the largest wind farm in Latin America.

At another wind project in Oaxaca, which Spanish firm Gas Natural Fenosa holds the concession for, police tried unsuccessfully to recover construction machinery taken by members of the local community. Twenty-two people were said to have been injured.

Because wind projects are a key part of Mexico’s efforts to combat climate change, and were one of the priorities of former president Felipe Calderon, which has been taken up by his successor, Enrique Pena Nieto, who took office in December, many believe solutions need to found quickly to address this growing issue.

According Adrian Escofet, president of the Mexican Wind Energy Association (Amdee), there are 18 wind farms in operation in Mexico, nine under construction and a dozen more in development.

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