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BECC celebrates 20th Border Energy Forum

Posted on December 02, 2013

BECC celebrates 20th Border Energy Forum

The Border Energy Forum, a collaborative effort among the 10 border states along the US / Mexico border, celebrated its XX anniversary.

Building binational relationships, creating cross-market opportunities and joining the private and public sectors with government agencies and academia are fundamental objectives to the Border Energy Forum. Every year since 1994, this forum provides the latest information regarding energy and its relationship to economic development and the environment and gathers key members to discuss how to best meet the border region’s energy needs.  The 20th annual event held in San Antonio, Texas from November 6-8 opened with featured guest speakers Senador de la Republica Aaron Irizar Lopez, Texas General Land Office Deputy Commissioner Louis Renaud, North American Development Bank (NADB) Managing Director Geronimo Gutierrez, and from CPS Energy Frank Almaraz. Moderated by Maria Elena Giner, Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) General Manager, the opening plenary session set the tone for the rest of the forum by addressing further cooperation between both countries and the impact of energy reform in Mexico. 

“By bringing together a diverse group that includes private and public sector entities, federal, state and local agencies and academia, we can develop a long term vision of how energy is produced and consumed along the border.  The Border Energy Forum will continue to grow and adapt, remaining responsive to the needs of organizations, and seeking ways to provide the latest and innovative ways of managing energy resources and BECC will remain a committed partner in reaching these goals,” said Giner.

Thursday’s keynote speaker was His Excellency Gary Doer, Canadian Ambassador to the United States who spoke on NAFTA and its impact on the three countries. The final day of the conference featured a roundtable breakfast discussion with Santiago Crehueras Diaz, director general de eficiencia energética e innovación tecnológica de la Secretaría de Energía and Ana Arrocha from USAID who presented the Mexico Low Emissions Development (MLED) Program. 

“One of the barriers we have found is access to financing. In an effort to increase economic development, in the past year we have developed a set of tools to help organizations secure funding. Among the tools available is energy diagnostic assessments as well as guides for banks on how to identify and implement financially feasible projects,” said Arrocha. 

The forum’s closing plenary panel featured Dr. Edgar Rangel German, Comisión Nacional de Hidrocarburos; Marcos G. Ronquillo, Beirne, Maynard & Parsons, LLP; Fernando Canales Clariond, Solensa; Agustín Humann Adame, Asociación Mexicana de Gas Natural; the Honorable Al Zapanta, United States-México Chamber of Commerce; Bob Nimocks, Zeus LNG, and moderator Michelle Michot Foss from the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Energy Economics.

Thursday sessions and some highlights: 
    •The Outlook for Energy Reforms moderated by Milton Mendez, Petroleo & Energia. Panelist Veronica Baz, Director of the Centro de Investigacion para el Desarollo, spoke on the upcoming challenges facing energy reform in Mexico.  While she said there is a big risk involved she added that the current government can take on the risk and the cost.  

    “This administration started aggressively on this policy and they have five years to complete the process. Also it helps that 70% of the political agenda held by each political parties coincide and that is why I believe this has a greater possibility of success,” said Baz.  She added the reports CIDAC has done are available on their website www.cidac.org.

    •Solar Energy moderated by Carlos Aguilar from the Comision de Energia del Estado de Sonora. Panelist Héctor Olea, Gauss Energía, which has the largest photovoltaic power generation plant in Latin America and the first utility-scale in Mexico, presented the challenges and lessons learned from the development of the first utility scale project in Mexico, a project with an installed capacity of 39 MW in Baja California Sur, Mexico.

    •Energy Efficiency and Water Systems moderated by Renata Manning-Gbogbo, BECC. Panelist David Reazin, an environmental scientist with EPA Region 6 who has also provided important expertise to local water utilities in energy management, described three interests in the efforts to target energy efficiency in water utilities – a reduction in emissions; for water utilities to reduce costs; and for energy producers to reduce demand. 

    •Energy Innovation, a Border Case Study with moderator Karen Johnson from Power Across Texas.  Panelist Maura Yates, SunEdison, presented technology solutions for energy requirements in Colonias along the state of Texas. The solutions included kits designed to provide, on-grid and off-grid customers different options to solve their energy requirements.

    •Energy Entrepreneurship moderated by Donny Holaschutz from Inodú. The panelists commented about the origin of their companies, failures and successes, and highlighted lessons learned in the field of the energy areas in the private and public sectors.

    •Energy Infrastructure and Continental Security moderated by Alejandro Landa from Holland & Knight

    •Wind Energy moderated by Dra. Silvia Casas of SEDUMA Gobierno del Estado de Tamaulipas 

    •Natural Gas Vehicles moderated by Dr. Margarito Quintero Nuñez from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California

    •Financing Energy Projects and Infrastructure moderated by the Honorable Rafael Anchia, Texas House of Representatives 

    •Transportation moderated by the Honorable Warren Chisum, Former Member, Texas House of Representatives 

    •Energy and Economic Development moderated by Ramiro Cavazos, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 

Friday sessions:
    •Energy Conservation and Buildings moderated by Eglantina Canales, Secretaría de Medio Ambiente de Coahuila. Panelist Michael Torres, Green World Restoration presented Solutions for a world in change which featured the problems and opportunities that the exponential population growth and natural disasters represent to the industry of the green building. Mr. Torres presented a series of technologies and materials easy to transport and easy to install that can help communities in disaster and in necessity.

    •Ocean Energy Resources: Deep Offshore Waves and Tides moderated by Dana Contratto, Contratto & Associates

    •Carbon Solutions moderated by Scott Storment from Mission Verde Alliance

    •Legal Issues regarding energy reform and commercial implications moderated by Mary Rose Brusewitz from Strasburger & Price, LLP

To conclude the 20th Anniversary Forum, attendees toured KACO New Energy and CPS Energy’s Blue Wing solar farm. The XXI Border Energy Forum is scheduled for October 2014 in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon.




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