Corporate Wind Farms in Ixtepec vs community's inititiative, Oaxaca, Mexico

Ixtepec community take position against private wind farms and propose their own wind farm cooperative. They denounce government favoring big companies and claim energy sovereignty for their territory


Over the last 15 years, Mexico has registered a fast development of large-scale wind farms in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, located in the south-western part of Oaxaca State. This region is considered to have 44,000 MW of wind power potential capacity with 33,200 MW suitable for commercial development. As of the beginning of 2015, the Wind Corridor in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec comprises more than 15 private wind power projects reaching an accumulated installed capacity of 2,077.5 MW. These wind farms are located in remote and marginalized territories of indigenous groups in Oaxaca (Zapotecos and Huaves), while projects are destined to supply electricity for the increasing demand of national consumption areas and transnational production clusters. Opposition towards wind farms in the Isthmus started in 1994 and has gained force as private projects have spread out over the territory. In this context, local organizations expanded through several political instances with the contribution of different external actors. Groups have claimed that government and private companies have not made formal consultation processes to indigenous communities affected by windmills. They have also complained against illegal land leasing contracts and environmental impacts on construction and operation phases. Additionally, indigenous communities have made strongly complained against the privatization and dispossession processes over their lands and local resources.

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Basic Data
NameCorporate Wind Farms in Ixtepec vs community's inititiative, Oaxaca, Mexico
SiteIxtepec municipality, Isthmus of Tehuantepec region
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe community wind farm was projected to comprise 44 wind turbines with a 1000 MW installed capacity, located in an agricultural area of about 1,000 ha. This territory is partly occupied by farming plots, although most of the owners have their homes in other parts of Ixtepec.

The wind farm would operate as an Independent Power Producer (IPP), where electricity would be sold to the CFE over a 20-year period at a fixed price.

Total costs of the project were expected to be about 200 Million USD financed through debts. After servicing payments, the project was expected to generate a total annual surplus of about 50 million Mexican Pesos (around 3.81 million USD) for the next 20 years.

Surplus was expected to be distributed in two parts:

50% for Yansa (investing to replicate this project elsewhere)

50% for the Ixtepec community. This amount would be sub-divided: 50% for land owners

50% for community programs
Project Area (in hectares)1,000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Start Date08/01/2009
Company Names or State EnterprisesENEL GREEN POWER (ENEL) from Italy
Relevant government actorsFederal Electricity Commission (Comisión Federal de Electricidad/CFE)

Federal House of Congress
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAssembly in Defense of the Land and Territory of the Indigenous People in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec

Yansa Group (Foundation associated with the Ixtepec community to develop the cooperative)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Referendum other local consultations
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Land dispossession
Project StatusUnknown
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseNegotiated alternative solution
Strengthening of participation
Project temporarily suspended
Development of AlternativesThe community wind farm represents an alternative to the privately owned and profit-led wind farms that are currently expanding in the Ishtmus region.

The proposal is based on an emerging demand of energy sovereignty of the local population.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Controversy remains open by the middle of 2015.

While international media announces that Enel Green Power has already been awarded to develop the "Sureste‟ project in this location, the Ixtepec community and Yansa keep pushing the issue to develop the community wind farm.
Sources and Materials

Oceransky Sergio (2010), Fighting the Enclosure of Wind: Indigenous Resistance to the Privitization of Wind Resources in Southern Mexico, In: Abramsky Kolya (Ed), Sparking a worldwide energy revolution social struggles in the transition to a post-petrol world, CA: AK Press, Oakland, p.p. 505–522.

Hoffmann Julia (2012), The Social Power of Wind: The Role of Participation and Social Entrepreneurship in Overcoming Barriers for Community Wind Farm Development. Lessons from the Ixtepec Community Wind Farm Project in Mexico, Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science, No 2012:024, Lund University International Master‟s Programme in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science.

Gaceta Parlamentaria, Con punto de acuerdo, por el que se exhorta a la CFE a detener las licitaciones sobre contratos de parques eólicos en curso y las programadas para el futuro próximo, Número 3627-III, México, 2012.

Juárez Hernández Sergio & León Gabriel (2014), Energía Eólica en el Itsmo de Tehuantepec: desarrollo, actores y oposición social, Problemas del Desarrollo, Volumen 178, Número 45, p.p. 139-162.
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Méndez, Enrique and Garduño, Roberto, Proponen plan eólico alterno para Oaxaca, La Jornada, Published: 10/19/2012. Consulted: 06/23/2015.
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Reve, Nuevo parque eólico de Enel Green Power, REVE. Revista Eólica y del Vehículo Eléctrico, Published 07/19/2015, Consulted 08/14/2015.
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Vargas Martín, Intenta CFE evitar consulta indígena para eólicos en Ixtepec, El Imparcial, Published 08/03/2015, Consulted 08/14/2015.
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El Economista - Enel Green Power conecta parque eólico en Oaxaca
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APIIDTT (2009b) Asamblea en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio de Juchitán, Foro Comunidades Indígenas, Autodeterminación y Soberanía Energética, Published: 08/ 15/ 2009. Consulted: 07/02/2015.
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Yansa Group
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Martín Vargas, Proyecto del Parque Eólico Comunitario en Ixtepec. Tribuna informativa, Published: 10/2012, Consulted: 06/23/2015.
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Manzo, Diana, Acusan comuneros a CFE de vender al Istmo a transnacionales; proponen eólica comunitaria, Página3, Published: 10/15/2012, Consulted: 06/23/2015.
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Notimex; Diputados pedirán informe a CFE sobre licitación de parques eólicos, Sin embargo, Published: 10/18/2012. Consulted: 07/26/2015.
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Other Documents

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ContributorSofía Avila-Calero
Last update29/03/2017