Clean-energy windmills a 'dirty business' for farmers in Mexico


The windmills stand in rows like an army of Goliaths, steel towers taller than the Statue of Liberty and topped with blades as long as a jetliner's wing. The blades whoosh through the humid air, carving energy from a wind that rushes across Mexico's Isthmus of Tehuantepec on its journey from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. Nearly every day, another tower rises out of the countryside.
The isthmus — Mexico's narrowest point — is becoming the Saudi Arabia of alternative energy as U.S. and European companies, emboldened by new technology and high oil prices, rush to stake their claims in one of the world's windiest places. The Mexican government wants the isthmus to produce 2,500 megawatts within three years, a goal that will require thousands of windmills and would catapult Mexico into the top 12 producers of wind energy.
"This is one of the finest wind areas in the world, and they are being very ambitious about developing it," said Martin Pasqualetti, an expert on renewable energy at Arizona State University who has studied the region. "They're trying to do in five years what California took 35 years to do."
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