Mexico City — Mexico’s energy policies and Argentina’s economic instability have slowed the growth of Latin America’s wind power generation capacity, according to the Global Wind Report 2023 published by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
New wind power capacity in Mexico plummeted 66% annually to 158MW during 2022, while in the case of Argentina the drop was 3,600% annually to just 18MW, according to the report.
Latin America as a region recorded a growth in wind power generating capacity of 5,200 MW in 2022, a 10.3% year-on-year drop, which was partially mitigated by additions from regional leader Brazil.
In an interview with Bloomberg Línea, GWEC president Ramon Fiestas commented that less wind power has been installed in the Latin American region over the past year because Mexico and Argentina have failed to install the technology.
“These two markets have failed in terms of installed capacity figures,” he stated.
While in Argentina the paralysis of new projects responds to a lack of political will with erratic signals from the authorities in the midst of a deteriorating macroeconomic environment, in Mexico the government’s energy policy does not favor the installation of new wind farms, according to the president of GWEC.
GWEC is made up of more than 1,500 companies, organizations and institutions such as Siemens Gamesa, Shell, Iberdrola and Enel among others in 80 countries, representing 99% of the world’s installed wind energy capacity.
Brazil, Chile and Colombia leading the way in wind
The association estimates that wind energy generation capacity in Latin America will grow to the order of 5,000MW annually from 2023 to 2027, driven by Brazil, Chile and Colombia.
Since the beginning of his six-year term, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has criticized wind technology for its costs and the risks to the electricity system due to its intermittency, and for its environmental and visual pollution.
But López Obrador has since modified his stance and its government will tender four projects for wind energy capacity in the south of the country during April of this year.
Fiestas considers as positive the most recent signals from Mexico, which appears in red color in GWEC’s global political heat traffic light regarding wind power and private investment, but the country still lacks substance in its policy to jump to a color with a lower level of alarm, such as yellow.
When asked about the position of private companies in Mexico that are involved in a tsunami of appeals for the payment of new transmission tariffs for renewable energy and stalled generation projects, Fiestas said that a process of discussion and negotiation could be opened, but without closing the market to private investment.
“Giving in and not compensating is not a negotiation,” he commented.
The construction of new transmission grids, whose monopoly is in the hands of the state-owned electric power utility CFE, is the main pending issue in Mexico for the installation of new power generation plants, he said.