U.S.-Mexico border region faces tough energy demands
Efficiency measures are needed, a report by the Western Governors' Association states.
The Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Manufacturers, businesses and government institutions
along the U.S.-Mexico border need to adopt energy efficiency measures to
help meet growing power demands, a report says.
"New electricity generating capacity in Mexico is expected to meet the increased industrial demand and population growth only through the next three years," the report, issued yesterday by the Western Governors' Association, stated.
It also said domestic fuel supplies for electric generating stations, which are becoming increasingly dependent on natural gas, are not keeping pace with demand.
Because of lag time in construction of power plants, business and industry must take steps to use electricity more wisely, the report stated.
That includes installing more efficient lighting, air conditioning and ventilation systems. Improved maintenance also can save energy, the report said.
Besides squeezing more work out of existing electricity supplies, the report said industry can reap considerable energy cost savings.
Manufacturing plants through the border region could save nearly $23 million a year through energy efficiency measures, the report found.
Governmental, educational and health care institutions could save $15 million a year.
Businesses, such as hotels and motels, could save $5 million, it stated.
In the larger Mexican cities of Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez and Matamoros, manufacturing plants could save 26 percent on energy costs, or $17 million a year, according to the report.
Maquiladoras account for about a third of the region's use of electricity, the report said.
The study looked at the border region that extends across portions of six Mexican states and four U.S. states - Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
"This report creates a blueprint for making energy efficiency a significant part of the West's energy policies, whether in the United States or Mexico," Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano said.
Energy demands are projected to grow by nearly 6 percent a year in Mexico along the border and up to almost 4 percent a year in some areas of U.S. border states, according to the report.
The report concluded that although utility reform is expected in the border region, delays can be expected for construction of plants and development of new natural gas sources.
"These factors bring into question the continued availability and future cost of electricity in the border region," the report said. "Therefore, energy conservation, distributed generation and renewable energy must become an integral component of future energy policies and must play a key role in meeting the region's energy needs."
The report was issued at the North American Energy Summit.
Governors of Western states and leaders from Mexico and Canada are meeting, along with energy industry officials, environmentalists and scientists.
In a speech at the summit, Ernesto Cordero Arroyo, undersecretary for energy formulation and technological development in Mexico, said North America "needs to be seen as a region facing common energy challenges."
"Canada, Mexico and the United States have the same goal: satisfy our countries' energy demands at competitive prices," he said.