MEXICO CITY Mexico announced on Thursday a $2.5 billion investment in new wind farms to generate more than 300 MW of electricity across the country, part of the government's push to expand renewable energy.
San Diego-based Cannon Power Group, which already works in the Baja California peninsula, will build another project there along with a plant in the central state of Zacatecas and in southern Quintana Roo, home to popular tourist resort Cancun.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon said new investments would help Mexico reach 2000 MW of wind capacity by the end of his term next year.
He said Mexico generates around 500 MW now as the country tries to reduce its emissions of polluting greenhouse gases.
"We need to ... reduce the use of fossil fuels and this is the way, projects that generate electricity without burning anything, without burning gas, without burning oil," Calderon said at an event with governors and company representatives.
Mexico, a top oil exporter to the United States, has seen oil output fall in recent years as production declines at its largest, aging fields.
The country now produces around 2.6 million barrels of oil per day, down from a peak in 2004 of 3.4 million bpd and has to import 40 percent of its gasoline needs due to a lack of in-country refining capacity.
Calderon wants to expand the use of wind, hydro, solar and other green energy sources to reach 26 percent of national demand by 2012, up slightly from the 23 percent used in Mexico when he took office in 2006.
With Canon Power Group's investment, Calderon said Mexico would reach $100 billion in foreign investment by the end of his administration, with companies continuing to pour money into the U.S. neighbor despite problems like rising drug violence. (Reporting by Mica Rosenberg and Adriana Barrera; Editing by David Gregorio)