Spotlight: Yucatán poised for place on Mexico's wind power map

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Yucatán state will become the latest addition to Mexico's wind power map in 2018 when the first farm starts operations, which is scheduled for the second quarter.

The state's economic development secretary Ernesto Herrera Novelo was quoted by local media as saying Eólica del Golfo I, in Dzilam de Bravo and currently under construction, has signed power-purchase agreements with the Mexico City-Toluca rail operator and movie theater chain Cinépolis, which will power all its cinemas in the country with electricity from the wind farm.

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The farm is being built by Mexico City-based Vive Energía and will be operated by Energía Renovable de la Península, which was awarded a power generation contract in the country's first auction in March 2016.

Also read AT A GLANCE: Mexico's wind power expansion to 2020

Other wind farms for Yucatán awarded in the auction are Chacabal, Chacabal II and Tizimín.

The state government reported in late September that the first wind turbines for Eólica del Golfo I had arrived in the peninsula.

Vive Energía's CEO Benigno Villarreal del Río was quoted by El Financiero newspaper as saying in September that the 70MW farm's 28 turbines will undergo testing toward the end of this year, and the project was 70% complete.

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Vive Energía, which is developing 600MW of wind projects in Mexico, has formed a strategic partnership with Chinese turbine supplier Envision Energy, according to the former's website, and both companies aim to build a 1.5GW wind portfolio in the country.

Eólica del Golfo I has faced opposition from local environmental groups, however, which criticized the project when plans were first announced in 2013, local media reported at the time. Environmental rights group Cemda presented a report warning of the risks to local residents and flora and fauna, according to weekly news magazine Proceso.

And in July a group of local people demonstrated in front of city hall in the town of Motul against the two Chabacal wind farms, which are being developed by Spanish firm Aldesa's renewable energy subsidiary Aldener.

Julio César Balam Escamilla, adivsor to local farmers known as ejidatarios, was quoted by El Diario de Yucatán as saying that some 600 locals oppose the wind complex, which they argue will damage the area's ecosystem and natural resources.

Mexico's wind power association Amdee forecasts wind capacity in the state will total 220MW by the end of next year, increasing to more than 2GW by 2020.