Wind turbines in Oaxaca. Wind turbines in Oaxaca.

Injunction halts Oaxaca wind farm over indigenous rights violations

French firm has approval to build the 300-megawatt plant in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec

A federal judge has granted an injunction halting the construction of a new wind farm in Unión Hidalgo, Oaxaca.

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.

However, the state Environment and Sustainable Energy Secretary was optimistic about the future of the wind farm, which is being built by the French firm Électricité de France (EDF). José Luis Calvo Ziga declared “it has only been suspended.”

The 300-megawatt project was announced last year when Calvo said the state would conduct the required consultations with indigenous communities by explaining the benefits of the project and dispelling any doubts they might have about it.

Installation of the 100 wind turbines was initially expected to begin last July. EDF was one of the winners in the second round of renewable energy auctions by the Federal Electricity Commission. The new farm would be its fourth in the region.

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But local organizations issued a call to the federal government last August to cancel the company’s authorization, claiming that the consultation process had been flawed.

The geographic and climate characteristics of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region of the state have made it very attractive for wind farm developers, but for every new project announced, allegations of rights violations surface.

Some allegations have gained international attention. Earlier this year the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) granted cautionary protection measures to the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples from the Isthmus in Defense of the Land and Territory.

The January 4 ruling was made in favor of the assembly and related to the construction of the 132-turbine Eolica del Sur wind farm, a $1.1-billion multinational project planned in the municipalities of Juchitán and Espinal.

Source: Eje Central (sp)

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