The government of Oaxaca has announced a US $1.2-billion investment in a wind farm by the Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi Group that will provide a 65-million-peso (US $3.4-million) windfall for the municipality of Juchitán.
Eólica del Sur, or “southern wind power,” will be the largest wind farm in Latin America in terms of investment and size.
To be located in the municipalities of Juchitán and El Espinal in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the project will consist of 132 high-technology wind turbines with a total capacity of 396 megawatts.
The project has been planned for several years, and has had different investors, but it has been halted a number of times due to local opposition.
Juchitán Mayor Gloria Sánchez López said the cash represented payment for a land-use change and a construction permit for the wind farm, which will the municipality’s 14th.
Councilors will decide how the money is spent, she said, pointing out the payment will be made “transparently.”
Sánchez also said the federal and state governments had agreed to pay for the installation of two of the wind turbines, whose electrical output would be for the use of the community.
In announcing the project on Thursday, Governor Alejandro Murat Hinojosa said local communities would also enjoy benefits such as a 35% reduction in household electrical costs and the installation of 5,242 energy-saving lights in Juchitán, providing a 30% saving to the municipality.
Critics of the wind farms in Oaxaca, where at least 2,000 turbines have already been installed, claim that benefits promised to local communities are not always delivered.
“Over time, the people have seen fewer benefits than originally promised,” says Marcelino Nolasco, coordinator of the Tepeyac human rights center in Oaxaca. And the fact that citizens have not seen the lower energy costs that had been promised adds to their resentment, he said.
“Support [for wind power] is diminishing. And each new wind turbine generates more tension.”