Mexico plans to quadruple its wind power capacity from 2.5GW in 2014 to 10GW in 2018, and to add a further 22GW of wind energy by 2040 in a $46bn push toward a low-carbon economy.
"We’re already a new country. Mexico is getting cleaner," Alejandro Peraza, general director of the energy regulator CRE, told Bloomberg.
At present Mexico relies on fossil fuels for 75% of its electricity, which makes it the world’s 10th largest contributor to global greenhouse gases.
However, it was also the first country to submit a plan to reduce carbon emissions to the UN conference on combatting climate change, to be held in Paris in December.
This sets out a way for it to reduce carbon emissions by 22% by 2030 by making wider use of renewable energy and reduce non-renewable energy generation to 45% of the national mix.
"There is a clear national policy on climate change taking place," said Peraza. "We are going in the direction of a low-carbon economy."Â
As well as providing generating capacity, Mexico is planning to hold annual energy auctions, with the first set for March.
Energy companies will receive certificates for every megawatt-hour of clean energy they generate, and will sell 20-year certificates through the auctions to large electricity users.Â
Large consumers must get 5% of their power from clean sources by 2018. Those who don’t meet the mandate may be fined as much as $200 per megawatt-hour used, according to Peraza. Large industrial users may be required to buy clean-power certificates on the spot market.
China has moved early to capitalise on Mexico’s pivot to wind.
Envision Energy, a Shanghai-based maker of low speed wind turbines, has acquired a majority stake in a portfolio of wind energy projects with total capacity of 600MW. Construction work on the projects is set to begin in 2016.
Envision and ViveEnergia, a Mexican winder energy supplier, also announced a strategic partnership to develop 1.5GW of wind energy capacity by 2020.
The purchase is China’s largest direct investment in Mexico so far.
Picture: Wind turbines are to become a common site in Mexican landscapes. These are installed by a highway in Oaxaca province (Thelmadatter/Wikimedia Commons)Â