Energy measures need to be taken along US-Mexico border

Apr 27, 2004 02:00 AM

Manufacturers, businesses and government institutions along the US-Mexico border need to implement energy efficiency measures to help meet growing power demands, according to a report by the Western Governors' Association.
"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 said. The report also said domestic fuel supplies for electricity generating stations, which are becoming increasingly dependent on natural gas, are not keeping pace with demand.

Because of the lag time in construction of new power plants, business and industry must take steps to use electricity more wisely, such as by installing more efficient lighting, air conditioning and ventilation systems. Improved maintenance also can save energy. 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 mm a year through energy efficiency measures. Governmental, educational and health care institutions could save $ 15 mm a year. Businesses such as hotels and motels could save $ 5 mm.

In the larger Mexican cities of Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez and Matamoros, manufacturing plants could save 26 % on energy costs, or $ 17 mm a year, according to the report. Manufacturing 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 US 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," said Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano.

Energy demands are projected to grow by nearly 6 % a year in Mexico along the border and up to almost 4 % a year in some areas of the US border states, according to the report. The report concluded that although utility reform is expected in the border region, lag time can be expected for construction of new power 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 a North American Energy Summit organized by the WGA. Governors of Western states, 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 that North America "needs to be seen as a region facing common energy challenges."
"Canada, Mexico and the United Stateshave the same goal: satisfy our countries' energy demands at competitive prices," he said.

Source: AP
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