Mexico is expected to add nearly 1.7GW in 2019, part of nearly 7.2GW over the next decade, according to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables (WMPR).
The analysts forecast Mexico to account for more than 75% of the anticipated growth in the region, far ahead of the nearly 1.5GW expected in Central America and up to 1GW in the Caribbean.
Cumulative operational wind capacity in Central America and the Caribbean will reach nearly 19GW by the end of 2028, a 150% increase from 2018, WMPR predict.
With plans for long-term power auctions in Mexico cancelled, new projects are set to be supported by power purchase agreements (PPAs) with commercial and industrial customers, WMPR noted.
These will be signed at rates below the tariffs previously agreed with state utility Comision Federal de Energia (CFE), the analysts added.
Previous successful auctions and the subsequently signed PPAs will support much of the Mexican pipeline through 2021, and many of these projects already have turbine purchase agreements signed as well.
WMPR’s principal analyst for Latin America and Southern Europe Brian Gaylor added: "The country possesses a strong wind power resource which will support development of new projects with competitive electricity pricing."
The analysts forecast nearly 1.5GW of new capacity in the rest of Central America by the end of 2028, with Panama driving much of this growth.
WMPR added that Panama has a "strong regulatory framework", with permits awarded by the Autoridad de los Servicios Publicos, following recommendations from the state transmission company and grid operator, Empresa de Transmision Electrica.
Meanwhile, the analysts predict Caribbean nations could add nearly 1GW over the next decade.
Grid operators and energy commissions have identified wind power development as an economic opportunity, as well as chance to boost grid resilience, WMPR noted.
However, logistical and regulatory hurdles continue to hinder wide-scale expansion of wind power.
Solar PV and hydropower development remain wind power’s greatest low-carbon electricity generation competitors in Central America and the Caribbean, and both technologies are expected to develop further during the period.
Meanwhile, liquefied natural gas also poses a threat as it offers fewer geographical resource constraints compared to wind power and solar PV, WMPR stated.