From turbines in Chile to a wind farm in Oaxaca, wind power in Latin America already has a foothold. However, industry experts say that is likely to increase dramatically between now and 2020, with wind leading the way compared to other renewables in Latin America.
Ivan Castano over at Renewable Energy World has an interesting piece on the near term projections for renewables on the continent, suggesting that wind power will more than double in capacity in the next 8 years:
Wind power growth is surging in Latin America and is expected to lead the region's renewables race with some 10,000 MW of capacity slated to come online in eight years, according to industry experts.
“Wind is growing exponentially as many plants begin operating or are scheduled for construction,” says Nestor Lunas, a research director at Latin American Energy Organization Olade, based in Quito, Ecuador. He adds there are ambitious wind development projets, mainly in Brazil and Mexico, but also in Costa Rica, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Peru and Dominican Republic. He says current capacity stands at 3,500 MW-4,000 MW and could easily reach 10,000 MW by 2020.
The story for solar power and biofuels, however, is much less optimistic. Solar is still seen as too expensive, and without a dramatic reduction in costs will remain a marginal source of power at least until 2020. Meanwhile, much touted Latin American biofuels projects have run foul of funding and technological problems, as well as political opposition over the food versus fuel debates.
On the not-so-renewable and not-renewable front, however, hydropower and shale gas are both expected to see massive increases in capacity too. That's if the region doesn't wake up to the potentially devastating implications of business-as-usual first.