Justice, social exclusion and indigenous opposition: A case study of wind energy development on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico

Journal Article

Title: Justice, social exclusion and indigenous opposition: A case study of wind energy development on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico
Publication Date:
August 01, 2019
Journal: Energy Research & Social Science
Volume: 54
Pages: 1-11
Publisher: Elsevier
Receptor:

Document Access

Website: External Link

Citation

Zárate-Toledo, E.; Patiño, R.; Fraga, J. (2019). Justice, social exclusion and indigenous opposition: A case study of wind energy development on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico. Energy Research & Social Science, 54, 1-11.
Abstract: 

The southern Isthmus of Tehuantepec is one of the windiest places on Earth and the scene of a large-scale wind energy development plan conceived by the Mexican government in conjunction with multinational companies. We analyze the national wind energy development policy, and the negotiation processes, alliances and popular local indigenous resistance created by what is known as the Isthmus of Tehuantepec Wind Energy Megaproject. We observe how the Mexican government, in its eagerness to grant control of regional wind energy resources to private sector companies, generated social schisms and conflicts in regional indigenous communities. These arose largely due to the absence of land use planning rules and conflict resolution mechanisms of the property rights issued for communal and social control, heritage of the Mexican revolution in the 1910’s. We describe recent government initiatives implemented in response to this dynamic and aimed at reviving construction of a wind farm previously blocked by popular indigenous protests. This unsuccessful attempt exposed a lack of institutional interest in guaranteeing local involvement in project planning and in correcting existing top-down political and operation practices. Wind energy development in Mexico resembles an extractive model, with no consideration of local cultures or organizations, or the potential for joint ventures with local stakeholders that would treat rural indigenous populations as assets in the national energy transition, begun in 2007 for wind private projects in the region.

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