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Winds of Change Blow Renewable Energy Across Latin America [Slide Show]

In Colombia the indigenous Wayuu greet wind energy produced on their desert land with suspicion

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GOAL!

Colombia may have been absent from this year's World Cup, but these Wayúu boys can still dream.....[ More ]

WINDS OF CHANGE

Although potable water is scarce in the desert and electricity is a luxury, some Wayúu are leery of the wind-energy projects. EPM built Jepírachi on land previously owned and occupied by the indigenous population, and Joutkai would follow suit.....[ More ]

MOCHILA MARKETPLACE

The Wayúu sell mochilas and other woven crafts in neighboring towns, such as Riohacha, La Guajira's capital city.....[ More ]

BARGAIN

The Wayúu women weave woolen shoulder bags called "mochilas," each of which takes weeks to make. This mochila likely was sold for less than $35.....[ More ]

THE WAYUU WAY

Fishing is a mainstay of the Wayúu and is done from small wooden boats powered by oars and crudely constructed sails.....[ More ]

RANCHERIA

Most Wayúu still live in traditional settlements known as rancherías, which are made up of five or six houses. The roofs of these one-floor structures are made from the hardwood found inside cacti, whereas the walls are made from some combination of wood, dried cane and mud.....[ More ]

SAND MEETS THE SEA

La Guajira Desert covers the northern part of Colombia's La Guajira Peninsula, which forms the northernmost tip of South America.....[ More ]

GONE TO THE GOATS

Jepírachi is situated between the Arutkajüi and Kasiwolin rancherías, near Puerto Bolívar and Cabo de la Vela, a tourist destination on the Caribbean coast. Goats are ubiquitous throughout the desert, where the temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius.....[ More ]

DESERT BLOOM

Other wind projects are under consideration, including a 200-megawatt wind farm in the peninsula's Ipapure region and a 20-megawatt site at Joutkai, which would be close enough to Jepírachi to share the same substation.....[ More ]

HARNESSING THE WIND

Jepírachi's Nordex GmbH N60 (60-meter tall) turbines have been in place since 2004, transforming 10-meter-per-second gusts into a total of 19.5 megawatts of energy. Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) has not added new turbines in the past six years.....[ More ]

CULTURE SHOCK

Jepírachi is the country's first utility-scale wind turbine field connected to the national grid and Latin America's first megawatt-size wind power installation. It was built in a desert where most inhabitants have only sporadic access to electricity.....[ More ]

MOLINOS

Jepírachi's 15 "molinos," each capable of producing 1.3 megawatts of electricity, rise 60 meters above La Guajira Desert.....[ More ]

JEPIRACHI WIND PROJECT

Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM), one of Colombia's largest utilities, built its Jepírachi Wind Project on land in La Guajira Desert that had previously been owned by the Wayúu people, the largest indigenous population in Colombia.....[ More ]

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