COZUMEL, MEXICO (Catholic Online) – The problem is the mangrove forest that will be home to the new project. Normally, environmentalists would be quick to embrace renewable energy projects, but int his case the plan is to construct a wind farm in an area that is considered biologically sensitive.
The Cozumel 1 wind farm is a one billion dollar project being developed by the Mexico Power Group on the island of Cozumel in Quintana Roo, Mexico. The Caribbean wind farm will generate 400 MW of energy using 121, towers that are up to 270 feet in height.
Unfortunately, the land on which it is destined to be built is an area known for rich biodiversity, which has set environmentalists against the project. Notably, the area is home to a number of unique species of heron and serves as a nesting ground for green sea turtles, which are endangered.
Environmentalists are planning to protest the project.
Meanwhile, Mexico continues to extract 2.5 million barrels of oil per day which provides a whopping 93 percent of the energy generated in the country. Only the remaining 7 percent comes from a combination of nuclear and renewable sources. Only a small trickle comes from solar power, despite the amount of sunshine the country receives, particularly in the northwest.
Renewable energy remains an expensive alternative to more easily produced energy, such as that which comes from oil and gas. And renewable energy sources have a reputation for being poor producers at that. When one considers the cost and energy involved in merely constructing a renewable project, it is painfully obvious that it can take years – decades even before the project pays for itself – of ever once maintenance is figured in.
Now, construct that project in an ecologically sensitive area, rich in biodiversity and any hope of improvement vanishes.
To be fair, great strides are being made in the field of renewable energy and the country is taking an inventory of renewable energy sources to better identify development opportunities. And in any case, no country can sustain itself forever on non-renewable energy, particularly oil. Mexico, as the rest of the globe, must transition at some point.
But transitioning at the expense of the environment seems counterintuitive, so the stage is set for protest.
The administration of Felipe Calderon has ordered an investigation to reassess the project.
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