Mexico

Mexico

Americas installations up 12% in 2019

Combined installations in North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean increased 12% year on year to 13.4GW in 2019, according to new figures released by the Global Wind Energy Council.

GWEC believes there is "great untapped potential" in Latin America, including Colombia, which had its first tender last year (pic credit: Jorge Mahecha)
GWEC believes there is "great untapped potential" in Latin America, including Colombia, which had its first tender last year (pic credit: Jorge Mahecha)

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Just four countries — the US (9,143MW), Mexico (1,284MW), Argentina (931MW) and Brazil (745MW) — accounted for 90% of capacity additions in the Americas last year.

The industry body expects a further 72GW to be added in the region between 2020 and 2024, but sees several barriers to this growth.

The ongoing US-China trade war and regulatory and political uncertainty in Latin America present challenges to further acceleration of wind power deployment, GWEC added.

In the US, developers rushing to claim the production tax credit (PTC) ahead of the support scheme’s planned phase-out helped push capacity additions up nearly 18% year on year.

GWEC expects the one-year extension of the PTC will continue to drive installations into 2024, it added.

Meanwhile, annual installations decreased 5% in Central and South America and the Caribbean combined. 

GWEC CEO Ben Backwell said while total capacity in these regions has tripled to a combined 148GW since 2010, policymakers “need to be doing more to accelerate these volumes”.

The US-China trade war was a continuing threat, with tariffs on steel and aluminum — which make up about 90% of wind turbines — putting pressure on the US supply chain, and increasing project costs by up to 10%, he added.

Meanwhile, Ramón Fiestas, chair of GWEC’s Latin America Committee, said Chile’s record year for installations (526MW) and Colombia’s successful first renewable energy tender showed there was “great untapped potential” in the region.

However, he added key markets in Latin America risked spurning their potential.

Mexico cancelled a planned clean energy auction last year while continuing economic uncertainty in Argentina and Brazil might jeopardise further wind power development.

GWEC expects the US’ first large-scale offshore wind installations in 2022-23, and more than 10GW to be built by 2026.

It was also encouraged by Brazil’s Energy Research Office (EPE) publishing a roadmap for offshore wind last month.

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