Wind turbines in Brazil – photo by Daniel Spillere Andrade (Flickr Creative Commons)

Latin America has huge potential for wind and solar power. Brazil already has large and long-established hydropower and biofuel industries, but along with Mexico, Colombia and other Latin American countries, they are increasingly looking towards European models of renewable energy.

From an article in Scientific American:

European wind farms dwarf Latin American efforts in terms of production today, but this will change dramatically if Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and other countries in the region continue their wind energy efforts. Whereas Spain generates 20,000 megawatts from wind energy and plans to double that capacity by 2020, Brazil has a capacity to produce more than 140,000 megawatts of wind energy […]

The EU’s goal is to provide itself with 20% green energy by 2020, partly facilitated by subsidies and other forms of government support. But economic downturn in European countries, along with the carbon credit system, may see a trend of EU-based renewable energy companies heading west.

Spain, which has well-established wind and solar energy industries, is facing economic woes and high unemployment. Proposed fiscal measures cutting subsidies to both clean and dirty energy industries could encourage Spanish wind and solar firms to look for business in the burgeoning economies of Latin America and elsewhere.

Spanish solar energy firms T-Solar and Solarpack already have between them dealings in Peru, Chile, France, the US, Italy and India, as well as prospects in Mexico and Brazil.

From an Inter Press Service article:

This year, the Spanish firms T-Solar and Solarpack won contracts for the production and sale of 173 gigawatts/hour (GWh) annually of photovoltaic energy in bidding opened by the government of Peru.

Spanish wind power companies currently have installed capacity in Mexico, Brazil and Chile, with plans to expand into Venezuela, Argentina and Peru.