>> Friday, January 23, 2009
From an Associated Press article by Mark Stevenson posted on TheNews.com.mx:
LA VENTOSA, Oax. - The government inaugurated one of the world's largest wind farm projects Thursday as the nation looks for alternative energy, in part to compensate for falling oil production.
The nation is trying to exploit its rich wind and solar potential after relying almost exclusively on petroleum for decades. With oil production down by 9.2 percent in 2008, Mexico now is turning to foreign companies, mainly Spanish, to tap its renewable riches.
"If we don't do something about this problem of climate change it probably could become - I'm sure it already is - one of the biggest threats to humanity," said President Felipe Calderón at the inaugural ceremony.
The new, $550 million project is in a region so breezy that the main town is named La Ventosa, or "Windy." It's on the narrow isthmus between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, where winds blow at 15 mph to 22 mph (25 to 36 kph), a near-ideal rate for turbines. Gusts have been known to topple tractor trailers.
Spanish energy company Acciona Energía says the 6,180-acre (2,500-hectare) farm should generate 250 megawatts of electricity with 167 turbines, 25 of which are already operating. The rest should be on line by the end of the year, making the project the largest of its kind in Latin America.
It will produce enough energy to power a city of 500,000 people while reducing carbon monoxide emissions by 600,000 metric tons each year, according to the company.
The project is also a joint venture with Cemex Inc. and will provide 25 percent of the cement giant's energy needs, fulfilling the company's goal of using alternative fuels.