On an arid plain where sudden gusts of wind can rip roofs off buildings and knock over tractor trailers, Mexico is building a new engine for its energy future. Surrounded by towering turbines in every direction, the town of La Ventosa – which means “the windy place” in Spanish – is at the heart of a wind power boom in the country.
Mexico, the world’s 14th biggest economy, still punches well below its weight in terms of wind energy, ranking 24th on the planet in installed capacity last year, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). But the market is growing fast. By the end of this year, the national wind energy association expects Mexico to jump to number 20 on the list, which is dominated by wealthy European nations, the United States, China and India.
“We’re talking about the largest growth in wind power projects anywhere in the world,” President Felipe Calderon said recently near La Ventosa at the opening of Latin America’s largest wind park owned by Spanish company Acciona SA, a long row of turbines whirring behind him.