South America - Largest wind energy complex inaugurated in Mexico

"This country has great wind potential that can and should be capitalized on as part of a necessary transition toward a more sustainable energy model, thereby creating wealth and employment in a sector with a future"

President Felipe Calderon inaugurated in the southern state of Oaxaca the largest wind-power project in Latin America, the fruit of $780 million in investment by Mexican cement-maker Cemex and Spanish energy giants Acciona Energia and Iberdrola.

Of the total, $550 million was provided by Acciona, co-developer along with Cemex of the Eurus wind park, which is located in the La Ventosa (Windy) region and is expected to generate 250 MW of energy once completed.

Another $170 million was contributed by Iberdrola, which has 80 turbines that will produce 95 MW in another point of La Ventosa.

The remaining $60 million was provided by the three companies to cover the cost of the infrastructure needed to connect with the Federal Electricity Commission's networks.

La Ventosa is located along the southern coast of the Tehuantepec Isthmus, where wind speeds can range as high as 75-120 kph (46-75 mph).

Cemex's president, Lorenzo Zambrano, said during the inauguration ceremony that the Eurus park "will be the largest in all of Latin America," with the capacity to supply a city of 500,000 inhabitants.

He said the park's output will be used to cover 25 percent of Cemex's energy needs nationwide, while in the case of the Iberdrola plant the energy will be used to supply Mexican companies such as grocery store chain Soriana and brewery Cervecera Moctezuma.

"What is especially relevant is that the operation of the wind park will prevent the emission into the atmosphere of 600,000 tons of CO2 per year," Zambrano said.

Zambrano said the project will next be registered under the Kyoto Protocol so that the companies - with the carbon bonds awarded to them in Mexico - can compensate for their greenhouse gas emissions in Europe.

The first stage of the park's construction led to the creation of more than 850 jobs and is expected to generate some 20 million pesos ($2 million) in economic activity annually, Zambrano said.

For his part, Esteban Morras, managing director of Acciona, said that Eurus is the largest wind park the company has installed anywhere in the world and represents a significant step toward the development of wind energy in Mexico.

"This country has great wind potential that can and should be capitalized on as part of a necessary transition toward a more sustainable energy model, thereby creating wealth and employment in a sector with a future," Morras said.

Around 200 teachers and members of the so-called Anti-Wind Front blocked a nearby intersection prior to the inauguration of the complex, although the ceremony went ahead as planned due to the presence of soldiers and federal police.

The Anti-Wind Front, made up of organizations such as the Assembly in Defense of the Land and the Territory and the Tepeyac Human Rights Center, said poor farmers were removed from their lands through trickery because the money they received per hectare - some $600 - was very low.

Calderon said during the inauguration ceremony that these types of projects will allow for the revitalization of an important area of Oaxaca, one of Mexico's poorest states and a region where most of the population is indigenous.

"Alternative sources of energy are the best (means of combating) climate change," he added. EFE
Online editorial www.windfair.net
Posted by Trevor Sievert, Online Editorial Journalist
wind energy, renewable energy, wind turbine, wind power, wind farm, rotorblade, onshore, offshore

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