Title:A stake in wind energy for local indigenous communities in Oaxaca, Mexico”

Dates: 2014-2018

Mexico, like many other growing economies, has set official targets for a renewable energy transition. The country currently aims to supply 50% of its electricity by clean energy sources by 2050.

In order for this to be realised, around 11–15 GW of renewable energy generation must be installed by 2027. The Tehuantepec Isthmus region in the state of Oaxaca, home to one of the most culturally diverse and economically deprived regions in the country, also holds more than half of Mexico's onshore wind energy potential, making it a strategic region for the countries renewable energy transition and an attractive outpost for private investors.

Indigenous communities walk past a large wind farm in Oaxaca, Mexico

Indigenous communities walk past a large wind farm in Oaxaca, Mexico

Until now, accelerated and unregulated deployment of wind energy in the region, combined with a lack of community involvement, has led to relatively unstable development. This has created social divisions, tensions between stakeholders, unilateral benefits for private developers and local conflict which has already stalled projects as large as 396MW, twice on processes in which different indigenous communities were involved.

Since 2014, Scene Researcher Adolfo Mejia Montero, has been assessing possible solutions for this complex and interdisciplinary problem. With the potential to repeat itself in other Latin American countries that share similar economic, social and technical landscapes, there is an obvious value in pursuing community energy in Latin America. With further research and action within the field of community engagement in renewables, a fairer and more stable approach to the renewable energy transition may be achieved, benefiting individuals, communities and businesses throughout Mexico, and Latin America as a whole.