After years of negotiations and $1.2 billion in investment, the Energía Eólica del Sur wind farm has opened in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca.
The new farm is the largest in Latin America, with 132 wind turbines and a total capacity of 396 megawatts. It covers 5,000 hectares in the municipalities of Juchitán and El Espinal.
Built by the Mitsubishi corporation, the wind farm could keep 567,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere every year, the equivalent of taking 300,000 cars out of circulation and planting 12 million trees.
It is the newest of 28 farms in the state, all of which are located in the windy Isthmus of Tehuantepec region, which generates 62% of Mexico’s wind energy.
In an inauguration ceremony, Oaxaca Governor Alejandro Murat said the project will help develop the state and make electricity cheaper.
“We’re sending a message that here in Oaxaca there are conditions to develop the state, conditions for companies like Mitsubishi to make investments,” he said.
The Institutional Revolutionary Party governor thanked President López Obrador for supporting the project and other development projects in Oaxaca, including a new gas pipeline and an improved rail line to connect the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean.
The Energía Eólica del Sur farm was approved in a consultation of nearby indigenous populations between 2014 and 2015, although national and international organizations criticized the consultation, saying it did not comply with international law on indigenous consultations.
One group of indigenous Zapotecs sued Energía Eólica del Sur, arguing that their right to prior consultation under international law had been violated because the consultation took place after construction had already started.
The Supreme Court initially ruled in favor of the Zapotec community, ordering construction to be temporarily suspended. However, the court later allowed the project to go ahead.