Which country is seeing the largest growth in wind projects in the world?
You probably wouldn't guess that it's Mexico.
The country ranks 24th in wind capacity, but by the end of this year, it will jump to #20, according to the Mexican Wind Energy Association.
The numbers aren't huge, but in 2005 Mexico had just 3 megawatts of wind, which will jump to 2 gigawatts (GW) by the end of this year - producing almost 4% of the country's electricity.
Over the next three years, wind capacity will double to 4 GW, and to 12 GW in 2020, when it will supply 15% of Mexico's electricity.
Worldwide there's 240 GW of wind installed.
"The rapid growth of private sector wind is actually quite consistent with trends under the Calderon government. Regulatory clarity, incentives for long-term contracts and price support for renewable energy have all been quite remarkable, particularly given Mexico's still emerging market context.
More broadly, there has been a substantive push to diversify Mexico's energy mix and to reduce its overall carbon emissions. This has included increased investment in natural gas fired power plants and some wide ranging energy efficiency programs (including, one of the world largest light bulb exchanges for compact florescents, CFLs). With strong wind through the south, consistent sunlight in the north and a stable market, Mexico is well positioned for continued renewables growth, " says Brian Gardner, Energy Analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit.
La Ventosa, known for its ferocious winds, is Mexico's wind hub right now, with 18 of the country's 27 projects surrounding the town.
Acciona is finishing up a $600 million, 306 MW project (204 turbines) that will power 700,000 Mexican homes, reports Reuters.
Wind projects are also popping up on the Baja peninsula, and next year, Mexico will begin its first wind power exports to California.
The government offers discounts on electric rates when companies sign long-term power purchase agreements to buy wind power. Mexico's Federal Electricity Commission is then able to get attractive financing through the international markets which it plows back into more transmission infrastructure, creating a virtuous cycle.
If companies send excess electricity back to the grid they get a 10% discount on utility bills.
And investors are seeing rates of return over 10%.
Last month, Mexico passed world-leading climate change legislation, which sets a national goal of cutting emissions 50% below 2000 levels by 2050, requires the government to cut emissions 30% by 2020, and targets 35% of electricity from renewable energy by 2024.