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BECC Looks for Coherence in Binational Environmental Projects

Posted on September 28, 2011

BECC Looks for Coherence in Binational Environmental Projects

Coherence, consistency and compatibility are the results and among the most important principles that government, private and educational organizations involved in the development of environmental infrastructure projects should seek to attain in developing public policies, according to Mario Vazquez Valles, Director of Environmental Program Development at the BECC, in his presentation, “Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Use Along the Border Region” made on September 9th in the capital city of Chihuahua, at the Teatro Los Heroes.

The meeting was organized in collaboration with the City of Chihuahua, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) and the BECC, and during which pro environment issues were addressed to raise awareness with environmental officials as well as with students from several Chihuahua universities in attendance.

As part of the guiding principles expressed during the meetings, the BECC representative described how transparency, consistency and the priority given to the more important sources of emissions, and emission estimates based on consumption and production, make a difference in a project.  He further explained that climate change strategies generate not only savings in energy but also financial and provided the example of Chihuahua, where replacement of 190,000 public lighting fixtures, an estimated $140 million dollar investment would result in a fifty percent savings in energy consumption; and also described water conservation measures in certain irrigation districts where twenty five percent in water consumption  could be obtained with technical upgrades to the systems and re-lining of canals; all of which would result in a $39 million dollar investment in Chihuahua.

“Mechanisms to help protect the environment should be implemented to improve the quality of life of border area residents, since efforts should not be carried out separately, because what happens on one side will affect the other.  Like in no other border region of the world, Mexico and the U.S.A. have made great efforts in this regard,” he added.

He assured that the BECC, throughout its sixteen years in operation, has received many applications for renewable energy projects and only four of the twenty seven submitted projects had been implemented.  Many of the hurdles are related to simple requirements that had not been overcome such as land occupancy, while others required design information to be considered strong enough.

Mr. Vazquez Valles added that as part of the Commission’s operational principles, community participation allows the project to be assimilated into the community and furthers the project’s operations over time; as such, sharing experiences will facilitate plans that could develop into more viable solutions in the future.

“The borders between the United States and Mexico share the same atmospheric and water basins, actually, the same ecosystems, which is why unilateral projects cannot be implemented,” he argued.

As part of the recommendations presented to access financing sources for renewable energy projects, he said that one must recognize the complexity of financial components in large-scale projects, in order to analyze the debt capacity of the project’s sponsor.  Also needed was the assurance of available and appropriate collateral required to obtain the loans, consideration of the absence or limited availability of incentive and subsidy programs, and lastly, addressing confidentiality issues related to various aspects of the project, such as patents, business strategies, all of which can complicate the project’s technical and financial implementation.




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