CRE Seeks to Shut Down Latin America’s Largest Wind Farm
By KELIN DILLON
Following a Dec. 17 decision by Mexican Secretary of Energy Rocío Nahle, the nation’s Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) now plans to revoke the self-supply permit it had previously issued to Energía Eólica del Sur (EES) to run Latin America’s largest wind farm out of El Espinal and Juchitán, Oaxaca, as part of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) mission to make the state-owned Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) a proverbial monopoly in the country’s energy sector.
The EES, which provides energy to subsidiaries of Grupo Femsa like popular national convenience store chain Oxxo, invested 13.249 billion pesos into the 396-megawatt plant, which has been in operation since Dec. 31, 2018.
Oxxo and Refrescos Victoria, another Grupo Femsa subsidiary, both filed appeals against Nahle’s decision, though two judges based in Mexico City and Monterrey denied the grant of provisional suspensions to the revocation, claiming the issue to be out of their respective jurisdictions.
The EES farm, which is outfitted with 132 Vestas wind turbines, has been controversial from the start. Built on both private and communal Oaxacan land, members of the Zapotec people have protested against the farm, claiming consultations about its construction with the surrounding indigenous community were “rigged.”
Similarly, AMLO and head of the CFE Manuel Bartlett have repeatedly gone after the EES since May of 2021, purporting financial irregularities and missing payments from the company.
In response, Oxxo posted a video on social media claiming it and the EES have fulfilled its outlined financial duties, which includes making payments to the CFE itself, as well as touting its use of clean energy over the dirtier energies favored by López Obrador.
AMLO and the CFE later responded by challenging the company to a public “technical debate” on the subject during one of the president’s daily morning press conferences.