Photovoltaic solar capacity in Latin America is poised to grow by 55% in 2016, one analysis of the region’s clean energy sector predicts. Another that looked more narrowly at Mexico is equally bullish, but forecasts slowing growth in that country’s wind development.
Latin America overall will see 2.2 gigawatts of new solar PV capacity go online this year, SeeNews Renewables reports, with the technology recently “outcompeting other clean technologies at utility-scale auctions in Chile, Brazil, Peru, and Mexico.” Solar won 20% of the offered capacity in Chile, 63% in Brazil, 40% in Peru, and 72% in Mexico, the site reports. Chile has the region’s largest solar capacity—1.4 GW—but both Brazil and Mexico are closing fast, it adds.
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The Norton Rose Fulbright global law practice, meanwhile, highlights Mexico’s energy sector reforms and climate strategy, both designed to encourage private investment toward the goal of reducing Mexico’s greenhouse emissions by 30% by 2020, and 50% by 2050. As a further incentive for investment, Mexico’s government “provides project finance for renewable projects through its development bank using financial resources contributed by [international financial institutions].”
Mexico’s solar resources are “comparable to some of the best locations in the world,” the group asserts, with the Baja California peninsula being an especially promising region. While the southeastern Oaxaca peninsula boasts equally high-quality wind resources, “investment has slowed down due to a mixture of social conflict with communities and a saturation of projects.”
On the other hand, the volcanically active country recently established a geothermal research centre, “with an operating budget of US$75 million over the next four years to promote exploration and projects with the private sector,” Norton Rose Fulbright notes. Mexico’s energy ministry hopes to see 217 MW added to an existing 100 MW of geothermal generation by 2018. It estimates the country’s total recoverable geothermal resource at 5 GW.
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