Cross Border Energy Forum

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Institute of the Americas
10111 N. Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla, CA, 92037
United States


Francisco Javier Orduno

Rafael Alcalde Navarro

Robert Oglesby

On January 13, the Institute of the Americas Energy Program brought together industry, government, and civil society in La Jolla, CA, for our Cross-Border Energy Forum.

Presentations by Javier Orduño, Director General of Baja California’s Energy Commission; Rob Oglesby, Executive Director of the California Energy Commission; and, Rafael Alcalde-Navarro, Commercial Leader for Latin America and Western USA at GE Energy – Power and Water, highlighted the importance of cross-border energy cooperation as part of a new vision for energy in the California – Baja California region.

In particular, panelists underscored the role of renewable energy, and opportunities to match renewable projects in Baja California with the California RPS market. Speakers and participants also emphasized the need for accountability across the set of stakeholders involved in fostering increased energy interconnection between California and Mexico. The water energy nexus was another issue attendees highlighted for attention by officials on both sides of the border.

For several years, the United States and Mexico have touted enhanced cross-border energy collaboration. Indeed, the presidents committed to building “upon cooperation in the border region…to strengthen the reliability and flow of cross-border electricity grids and by facilitating the ability of neighboring border states to work together to strengthen energy trade.”

There have been positive steps with two separate memorandums of understanding signed. The first, in July 2014 during California governor Jerry Brown’s visit to Mexico City, was an agreement between the state of California and Mexico’s Ministry of Energy (SENER) to encourage cross-border renewable energy investments and research and development. More recently, in October, the University of California system signed an agreement with SENER aimed at boosting research, visits from scholars, scientists and administrators, and development of graduate programs in the field of renewable energy over the next five years. There has been progress on both agreements with the first of several working groups being organized, but not enough or at a quick enough pace argued many attendees.

There is no doubt that matching Baja California’s clean power surplus with the increasing demand for renewable electricity generation in California continues to be an important issue for policy makers and industry alike – in California and Mexico.

The potential binational energy market is just one example of the possibilities for and logic of increased cross-border cooperation in the distribution of clean energy resources. But, more needs to be done to seize this opportunity, hence the near-unanimous plea heard from attendees for more accountability on the steps and progress to move from potential to reality and true cross border collaboration.


Sempra International Ienova

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