Residents of an indigenous community have approved the installation of a huge wind power project in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in southern Mexico, the Oaxaca state government announced on Friday August 1.
The proposed construction of 132 giant wind turbines is meant to generate 396 megawatts of power, but the project has raised concerns over vibrations, bird killings and invasion of “Ejido” lands.
The company behind the project and the Oaxaca government teamed up to offer residents an average 45 percent reduction in power costs.
State officials said Friday that the project was approved during eight months of negotiations, community consultations and public hearings.
But opponents contend the consultations violated their rights as Mexican citizens. They say that supporters were transported to consultative hearings and that opponents were effectively excluded.
Rodrigo Peñalosa, one of the opponents, said the government “manipulated the consultation process from the start” to assure approval.
Hundreds of wind power turbines already dot the area around the isthmus, the narrow waist of Mexico lying between the Pacific ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Its location ensures a constant flow of winds.
The government says the wind farms provide cheap, clean electricity.
But opponents complain that the privately owned wind farms have negative effects on fishing and agriculture.
The newest farm, known as “Eolica del Sur,” would take up 5,332 hectares (13,175 acres) in the township of Juchitán.
Residents had blocked a previous project, arguing it did not comply with Mexico’s obligation under international law to consult indigenous groups over projects developed within their territories.
The state government said the “Eolica del Sur” project was the first of 20 wind farms installed in Oaxaca to carry out these kind of consultations, and officials pledged that any future projects would be required to do so.
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