Articles from Mexico
Mexico's grid operator and regulator Cenace (the National Energy Control Centre) has scrapped plans for the country's 5.9TWh clean energy tender. It had previously suspended the auction in December, a day before bids were due, and two days after new president Andrés Miguel López Obrador was sworn in.
With several large investors already lined up for the tender, the cancellation will raise doubts about the continuation of Mexico’s clean energy programme. The government said that although investors can contest the cancellation, it will not refund what companies spent to prepare for the process.
Mexico’s grid operator and regulator Cenace (the National Energy Control Centre) stated the suspension would allow president Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s new administration to review the tender mechanism’s scope and objectives. ...Results of the tender were initially due to be announced on 2 November, but this was pushed back to 18 December to provide greater visibility, Cenace stated.
A group of activists filed the injunction request on the grounds that the rights of local indigenous communities were violated during the planning and development process for the US $600-million project.
Yesterday, the municipal representative in Pueblo Viejo, Francisco Álvarez, led a group of supporters to the beach where they set fire to some 20 palapa-roofed houses belonging to the fishermen. ...The fishermen claim that Álvarez wants to force them to leave the land so the municipality can grant it to the wind farm project.
Late last month, Sedena sought to initiate legal action against Tradeco to secure 595 million pesos (US $30.9 million) in compensation for failing to comply with the contract it signed and a 374-million-peso (US $19.4-million) payment because no energy was produced at the base between March 2014, when the project was supposed to be completed, and June 2018.
Judges from Mexico’s highest court unanimously decided to grant an amparo, or injunction, to members of the Zapotec community in Juchitán on the grounds that they hadn’t been consulted or given their permission or authorization for the project to go ahead on their land.
Some 500 people from Unión Hidalgo marched Saturday to protest the planned Gunaa Sicarú wind farm that firm Eléctricité de France (EDF) plans to build, according to local media reports. The coastal town and fishing community of Unión Hidalgo is inhabited by people of the indigenous Zapoteco ethnic group, who claim to not have been consulted about the planned project.
Flor, who owns the land where the turbine is sited and rents it to EDF, said she arrived on the scene after being alerted by a neighbor. “The stench was terrible, like a sort of burned fuel or ammonia,” she said, asking not to be identified by her surname out of concern over reprisals. “The trees were glistening with oil.” Similar problems have been reported all along the Tehuantepec isthmus, one of the western hemisphere’s windiest places.
Besides the lack of information, and of free, prior and informed consent, as the law and international conventions require, indigenous people complain about impacts on migratory birds, rise in temperatures in areas with solar panels and water pollution caused by leaks from wind towers. ... the process of energy development has legal loopholes that have to do with superficial contracts and environmental impact studies.
Renewable energy from south of the border is beginning to make a big impact on the American side. Looming over the dry desert scrub, as high as a 25-story building, the giant turbines of the Energía Sierra Juárez wind farm punctuate the horizon just south of the California border, an otherworldly array of white tubular towers each topped with three, 12-ton blades.
Mexican and foreign energy companies have paid off local power brokers to bring landowners on board, according to lawyers and activists. Yet in some cases, money they had donated for social projects evaporated in the hands of municipal officials. “We’ve had years of wind projects, but poverty is the same.”
Dutch pension fund manager PGGM is abandoning a 396-MW project in Mexico after several years of delays due to community resistance, Dutch media reported this week.
On the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, a strong wind is always blowing, which makes it one of the best places in the world to generate wind energy. Since 1994, 24 wind farms have been erected in the region. One proposal, to be funded by Dutch pension fund manager PGGM would include 132 turbines. At 396 megawatts, it would be the largest wind farm in Mexico. The project is budgeted at 750 million euros. Other investors to the project included Mitsubishi and the Australian investment group Macquarie.
The analysis also reveals that the well publicized U.S. wind drought of early 2015 – which hit wind farms in California and Texas particularly hard – also had a far-reaching effect on much of northern and central Mexico: First-quarter wind speeds in this region were 5%-20% below normal.
A palm hat worn down by time covers the face of Celestino Bortolo Teran, a 60-year-old Indigenous Zapotec man. He walks behind his ox team as they open furrows in the earth. A 17-year-old youth trails behind, sowing white, red and black corn, engaging in a ritual of ancient knowledge shared between local people and the earth.
The Mexican Center for Environmental Law (Cemda) has detailed inconsistencies in the approval of the Eólica del Sur project, claiming that government officials granted permits and licenses before the consultation stage was over, violating the indigenous communities’ rights to an informed process.
Mexico is planning to quadruple its wind-power capacity as part of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s effort to transform the country’s energy industry. The country expects to have about 10 gigawatts of turbines in operation within three years spread across almost every region, up from 2.5 gigawatts in 2014.
“All these agencies and companies are in lockstep on this green energy rush, whether it’s actually beneficial to us or not,” said Donna Tisdale, a resident of Boulevard in East San Diego County. Tisdale is leading the lawsuit against Energía Sierra Juárez, which also names the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Fish and Wildlife. Among other things, the lawsuit claims the Department of Energy issued a Presidential Permit without considering environmental impacts in Mexico or alternative clean energy projects, as required by law.
This means a tense and possibly bloody situation is emerging and the people of Álvaro Obregón will need support in their struggle for autonomy against the invasion of wind turbines, political parties and the state police and military. ...Such “green” construction, it turns out, isn’t much different from many other large-scale industrial projects that altered or destroy the natural environment and the people who stand in the way of these kinds of developments.