Wind energy is the power extracted from wind using wind turbines. A wind turbine is a device that transforms the kinetic energy of the wind into electrical energy. Wind energy is a renewable form of energy that is available in ample quantity and extensively. It is an alternative to fossil fuels which are depleting in quantity. Wind energy is the cleanest resource; it has neither toxic gas emissions nor greenhouse gas emissions. Wind turbines are connected to the network of electricity transmission. The onshore and offshore wind that is trapped is an inexpensive, competitive and significant source of energy. Wind energy contributed to 4% of the total global electricity usage in 2013.
The end use industries of wind turbines can be broadly classified into industrial, commercial and residential. The industrial use can be further divided into power generation, agriculture, industrial automation, engineering and telecommunication. Despite being commercially niche market at present, wind turbines are expected to expand due to increasing government subsidies and incentive programmes on the use of wind energy.
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The global wind industry produced about 37,000 MW in 2013. Latin America, in particular, has provided the industry with an essential substitute growth market for wind power. In 2013, Latin America alone represented approximately 45% of the installed capacity of North and South America combined. It was largely driven by the wind markets of Brazil and Mexico which can be regarded as the dual pillars of the Latin American market. The average price of wind energy contracts in Brazil is US$ 50/MWh and gives wind energy an edge over conventional fossil fuels there. This is a major driver for the wind turbine market in Brazil. The wind power in Mexico provides power to over 65,000 households and exports it to US. Food and beverage company, Nestle, had invested US$ 60.7 million in wind energy in Mexico, and employed wind energy for its 85% electricity requirement. The cumulative wind capacity in Mexico reached 1988 MW by the end of 2013 indicating a 31.4% growth rate. The installed capacity in 2013 was 76 MW in Argentina, 200 MW in Chile, 30 MW in Peru, 11 MW in Uruguay, and149 MW in Venezuela.
Strong wind resources, and rising electricity prices and energy demand are driving the demand for renewable energy higher. The Latin American industrial policies are effective as they have tailored depreciation tax policies which enable industries to actively partner with wind energy generators for their energy usage. Also, wind plants do not need to be in the vicinity of the end user and just need a connection to the Latin American power grids. Feed-in electricity tariffs have been introduced to motivate the use of renewable energy such as wind energy, solar energy, hydropower,...