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Indigenous community wins 5-year battle against Oaxaca wind farm

Electricity commission cancels contracts held by French electricity firm

An indigenous community in Oaxaca has won a five-year battle against the construction of a wind farm in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region.

The Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) canceled contracts that would have allowed the French firm Électricité de France (EDF) to supply it with electricity generated at the Gunaa Sicarú wind park in the municipality of Unión Hidalgo.

The cancelation makes the project unviable because private and foreign companies need a partnership with the CFE to get their power onto the national grid.

It is the first time in 15 years that the federal government has canceled a wind project in the Isthmus of Tehuntepec following a legal challenge from a local indigenous community. ProDESC, a non-profit human rights defense association that provided legal assistance and representation to the community, acknowledged the decision in a statement.

“On Thursday, and after five long years defending their rights to land, territory and natural resources, the Zapotec community of Unión Hidalgo … announced that the … [CFE] had definitively canceled the energy supply contracts with French corporation EDF,” it said.

“With this, the wind park megaproject ‘Gunaa Sicarú’ has been definitively canceled,” the statement added.

“The decision was announced … at Oaxaca’s First District Court, where ProDESC has carried out … litigation regarding the wind park. Related to this litigation, [the federal Energy Ministry] SENER informed about CFE’s decision to cancel the energy supply contracts with EDF, as well as the corresponding electrical inter-connection contract,” ProDESC said.

“These cancellations show, according to SENER, that the wind park ‘Gunaa Sicarú’ is technically unfeasible “since this [wind park] is directly linked to the cancelled contracts,” it said.

The organization said the successful challenge to the project was “a milestone in the defense of land, territory and natural resources for agrarian and indigenous communities” and a “clear example” of how business accountability can be achieved not just in Mexico but across Latin America.

“’Gunaa Sicarú’ was a wind park project that would have been illegally built on communal lands, and it would have had 115 wind turbines with a total energy capacity of 300 MW. This would have made ‘Gunaa Sicarú’ one of the biggest wind parks in Latin America,” ProDESC said.

With reports from El Universal 

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