Binational Coopeartion and Renewables in the Border Region

May 26, 2014 (San Diego) Mexico and the United States have been called distant neighbors. There are historic reasons for the mistrust, and resistance to cooperation, but these days, there is clear cooperation. One of these was the establishment of the Border Environmental Commission.

The treaty partly states:

Convinced of the importance of the conservation. protection and enhancement of their environments and the essential role of cooperation in these areas in achieving sustainable development for the well being of present and future generations.


It is this commission that is the basis of energy policy in the border region, including Renewable Energy. The sister organization to the Border Commission was the establishment of the North American Development Bank (Banco de Desarrrollo de America del Norte: BDAN). This bank is one of the sources for the financing structure for Wind Energy projects on both sides of the border. Energy projects within 62 miles of the border in the US (100 Km) and 186 miles (300 km) in Mexico can apply for loans and technical assistance. The Bank is twenty years old, and among other things is responsible for the partial financing of the Ramona Solar Plant as well as the Sierra Juarez wind project in Baja California.

Both plants are part of the complex of Green Energy projects that have been emerging in the border region, and both will serve San Diego Gas and Electric to meet it’s renewable production requirements in 2016 and 2020. These Renewable production targets are part of the California Renewable Portfolio (RPS) standard that came into law in 2002 under Senate Bill 1078.

The RPS standard has increased the obligation of Energy Companies to produce green energy, but the policies started  to take shape before 2002 as the environmental binational goals. Among them were . This wasthe development of clean energy projects, as well as cleaning up dumps and other ecological dangers in the border region.

The projects financed by the BDAN have to meet requirements of California Law, Federal Law, and treaty law. In Mexico they have to meet the requirements of Mexican Regulatory agencies as well as treaty law. In the rare case, such as Sierra Juarez, where the transmission line crosses the border, a special Presidential finding was needed for that line. Therefore, the authorization for all these projects  are even more complex than normal. The projects do pay close attention in their documentation to local regulatory conditions. Moreover, the Sierra Juarez project will not be connected at any point with the Compañia Federal de Electricidad (CFE), since power is not meant for Mexico.  San Diego Gas and Electric bought the power  for distribution in the United States, though a Power Purchase Agreement. Therefore, it should be properly seen, functionally that is, as part of the massive energy developments in San Diego’s back country.

This cooperation is not just limited to San Diego County. It encompasses the whole border, including the six Mexican States of Baja California, Sonora, Coauhila, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas. On the US the states are California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. This border commission also works on other projects to improve the environment of all residents of the region.

Over the last 20 years the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission and the BDAN have benefited over 15 million border region residents. During the ceremony celebrating the 20th anniversary of the two sister institutions, Dr. Aportela Rodríguez of Hacienda and the Under Secretary for International Markets and development of the U.S. Treasury Department underlined the role of the Commission and the BDAN to reach binational objectives. It was said that the commission.

…helped both countries to achieve their common environmental objectives, including their climactic change objectives


Another thing that was highlighted was that:

The BDAN is the first recognized green bank and it is recognized as an example of bilateral cooperation.


This is the first in a series of articles on overall energy policy in the border region.



Categories: Climate Change

2 replies

  1. Is this the thing you and tom are going to do on your own? Just wondering.

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