L. America to add '53GW' by 2023

Brazil and Mexico will lead the wind-energy charge in Latin America over the next decade, driven by rising power demand and prices, according to market researcher MAKE.

Some 53GW of new wind power capacity will be installed across Latin America through 2023, MAKE predicts, compared to the 4.7GW the region currently has in place.

Breaking from developed markets elsewhere, Latin American countries have not relied on subsidies nor on government incentives to boost wind installations, MAKE notes.

"The development of wind power in Latin America is progressing largely without the support of traditional incentive mechanisms or renewables targets found in more established and developed wind markets," MAKE says.

Brazil, the region's most mature market, is set to retain its position of leadership in the region, accounting for 43% of new installations through 2023. 

Brazil is on track to add at least 6.3GW of new capacity in both 2014 and 2015, of which 1.6GW is a carry over from 2012-13.

Brazilian power consumption is rising at a clip of 3%, and in February it rose 8.6% year-on-year.

Meanwhile, Brazil is facing lower-than-expected rainfall, which has depleted reservoirs and made wind power more attractive to complement hydroelectric production, which accounts for about 80% of the country's current generation.

With an installed  capacity of 3.6GW, wind currently accounts for about 3% of Brazil's generation base.

By 2018 Brazil will have 14GW of installed capacity, with more than 10GW of development rights having been handed out in recent auctions, according to projections by the Brazilian Windpower Association (Abeeolica). 

In Mexico, recent constitutional changes will have the effect of introducing more competition in the electricity and oil sectors.The new laws are expected to be approved in 2014.

Unlike Brazil, one of the aims of the Mexican government is to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels for power production, which currently account for over 70% of its some 58GW installed capacity.

Installed wind capacity in Mexico ended 2013 at 1.9GW, up 600MW, or almost 50% in one year, according to figures from the Global Wind Energy Council.

Like Mexico, Chile is aiming to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.

Some 60% of Chile's electricity generation capacity comes from natural gas and diesel, most of it imported from Argentina.

But competitive power commissioning systems have helped the Andean country to nearly double its wind  capacity. MAKE projects that new large scale wind projects should further increase the presence of the technology in the Chilean power sector throughout 2014.

Chile's current wind power installed capacity is around 330MW, according to GWEC.

Uruguay should also add significant amount of wind power as it pushes to have 50% of its installed capacity coming from renewables by 2015. Uruguay has currently just over 50MW wind power installed capacity.

Like Chile and Mexico, Uruguay relies heavily on fossil fuels.

On a downbeat note, Argentina and Venezuela are facing economic troubles, and, in the case of the latter, political instability which is damaging the investment climate for wind, MAKE says.