New Hampshire, USA — Mexico, a heavyweight in oil production, took a firm stand against climate change by passing a law that would make it the second nation after the United Kingdom to institute legally binding carbon targets.
The legislation easily passed the Senate and it now moves to the desk of President Felipe Calderon, who is expected to sign it into law.
The law will require a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gases measured against a “business as usual pathway,” which is essentially the projected level had no changes been made. That target moves to 50 percent below 2000 levels by 2050. The nation will also be required to get 35 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2024. According to the International Monetary Fund, Mexico had the 14th largest economy in the world in 2011 and the second largest in Latin America.
There are many reasons Mexico moved so uniformly in this direction, but the two biggest factors are the recent drought that has devastated parts of the country and the growing confidence that renewable energy can spur economic growth.
Opening Brazil’s Solar Market: The emerging wind energy giant is exploring ways to get its on-grid solar market off the ground with some targeted tax incentives and some high-profile installations.
Plans for 100-MW Uruguay Wind Farm: Uruguay power company UTE and Eletrosul, a unit of Brazil’s Electrobras, have unveiled plans to jointly set up 100-MW wind farm near the Brazilian border.
Alstom Wins Brazil Wind Order: Alstom will supply wind turbines to four wind power plants in Brazil. Alstom won a contract from Odebrecht Energia for the supply of four wind farm plants in the South of Brazil.
Amazon Dam Workers on Strike: Seven thousand workers at a contested dam in Brazil’s Amazon region went on strike on Monday demanding better working conditions, the consortium in charge of the project said. Work on the $11-billion project that has irked indigenous groups, environmentalists and local residents got under way last June.
Chile’s Solar Pipeline: Chile’s Renewable Energy Center has announced that there are over 2500 MW of PV and solar thermal projects in the pipeline for the country. The report suggests that projects amounting to 685 MW are awaiting the start of construction after receiving environmental permits and a further 1903 MW are awaiting permits.
Company Buys Nicaragua Wind Project: Globeleq Generation Limited has announced the acquisition of the 44-MW Eolo wind project in Nicaragua.
Brazil led Latin America with 583 MW of installed capacity, pushing the country beyond the 1 GW mark early in the year and ended 2011 with a total of 1,509 MW Brazil has a strong pipeline of up to 7,000 MW to be installed by 2016, and this has attracted many manufacturers and component suppliers to establish factories, with the idea of supplying not only the Brazilian market, but regional markets such as Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.
The Argentinian market moved ahead strongly in 2011, installing 79 MW which represents a more than 100% increase in total installed capacity With its excellent wind resources, Argentina could be a major market if ways could be found to reduce the country risk Chile installed 33 MW in 2012, with many more projects under construction which should come to fruition in 2012.
In Central America, Honduras was the big story, with the first big project of 102 MW coming on line The Dominican Republic (33 MW) and Costa Rica (13 MW) also added capacity in 2011.
Outlook — 2012-2016
The Latin American market is dominated by Brazil, now becoming established as a major international market with a strong manufacturing base which could supply a growing regional market in the Southern Cone, at least, and will constitute the vast majority of the regional growth in the period out to 2016 Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and some smaller Central American markets will contribute during the period, but Brazil will account for about three quarters of the 86 GW of new installations that we are projecting for 2012-2016, which will bring the region’s total installed capacity up to almost 11 GW.
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