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Clear path to tripling of Mexican wind by 2024: energy secretary

The Mexican government is more committed than ever to knocking down market barriers for wind, says energy secretary Pedro Joaquín Coldwell

Mexico is on track to reach 12GW of installed wind capacity by 2024, a tripling from today’s total, and the government remains committed to knocking down remaining market barriers, says energy secretary Pedro Joaquín Coldwell.

The Mexican government stands behind its 35% clean-energy target for 2024, and “the power technology that is spearheading this is wind power”, Coldwell said Wednesday at the opening of the Mexico WindPower conference.

The country is on track to hit its 35% target, he says.

After three clean-energy tenders that contracted more than 2GW of wind since March 2016, the government is now preparing the fourth tender, to be launched by the end of March 2018.

Mexico ended 2017 with 4GW of installed wind capacity. The 2GW of wind contracted thus far is expected to draw $1.6bn of investment into the country.

Beyond readying the fourth tender, the government is taking additional steps to attract more investment into the wind and broader power sector, Coldwell says.

Last year the government published tender rules for the country’s first transmission line to be built and owned by private companies, as part of its sweeping energy reform package that has opened the generation, transmission and distribution sectors to private and foreign investment. Transmission is seen as a key bottleneck for the Mexican wind market.

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The new transmission link will connect the northwestern state of Baja California to Mexico’s national grid via a 1,400km, 1.5GW line. The project is expected to cost $1.1bn.

Coldwell says 81 companies from 10 countries are interested in bidding, and the transmission tender should conclude in September.

He also announced that federal power company CFE will soon tender out construction work for a 1,658km transmission project running from the wind-rich southern state of Oaxaca to the country’s central region. The construction tender will conclude in July.

The new transmission line will “allow energy to flow from the isthmus of Tehuantepec – mainly wind power,” Coldwell says.

Meanwhile, the National Electricity and Renewable Power Research Center has started a measurement campaign to develop a new wind power atlas for the country, with the aim of tackling another barrier to wind growth in Mexico: lack of data on the country’s resource.

With seven measuring towers already installed, the government has promised to make all data available online for wind investors.

The wind atlas comes as part of a broader effort to increase R&D into wind, including a doubling of the renewables budget at the Center, Coldwell says.

Mexico's 4GW of wind at the end of 2017 accounted for 5% of the country’s total installed generation capacity and 3.2% of actual power supply, second to hydro among renewables.

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