New Publication: Renewable Energy in Mexico’s Northern Border Region

April 28, 2015

Renewable EnergyHeavy reliance on fossil fuels is a common theme across the Mexican Northern Border States with the notable exception of Baja California (which gets over 30% of its public service electricity from the Cerro Prieto geothermal plant). Despite abundant wind, solar and bioenergy resources, Northern Mexico has yet to fully embrace the energytransition, but this could rapidly change in the next few years.

Mexico’s recent Energy Reform, which included modifications to the Constitution in December 2013 and a comprehensive package of implementing legislation on August of 2014, represents a fundamental transformation of the sector. For renewable energy, the major opportunities are related to the creation of a new electricity market and the introduction of Clean Energy Certificates. In the new market, the National Center for Electricity Control
and Dispatch (CENACE) will be fully independent of Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), thus allowing for a more transparent wholesale electricity market in which users above a set consumption threshold will be allowed to freely switch between generators. Mexico has already committed to produce 35% of its electricity from clean sources by 2024.

This publication “Renewable Energy in Mexico’s Northern Border Region” analyzes the current renewable energy situation in the north of the country, discusses potential resources that could be used for electricity generation from renewable sources, and provides policy recommendations to increase the use of renewables in the energy sector and to achieve long-term energy sustainability.

Download the publication here. 


NEW PUBLICATION: Reflections on Mexico’s Southern Border

April 1, 2015

By Duncan Wood, Christopher Wilson, Eric L. Olson, Brenda Elisa Valdés Corona, and Ernesto Rodríguez Chávez

April 1, 2015

Puente Dr. Rodolfo Robles Ciudad Hidalgo Chiapas - Tecún Umán Guatemala  DSC_0914 Ernesto (2)In early March, 2015, a small group of researchers from the Washington-based Wilson Center and from Mexico’s Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México and Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas traveled to the southwestern section of the Mexico-Guatemala border to observe developments in migration, various types of illicit trafficking, trade, and border management. While there, we met with a wide range of government and non-governmental actors. We crossed the border and visited the official and irregular installations at Ciudad Hidalgo-Tecún Umán and Talisman-El Carmen. We met with officials from Mexico’s SRE (Foreign Ministry), SEMAR (Navy/Marines), the Interior Ministry’s Coordinación para la Atención Integral de la Migración en la Frontera Sur, and INM (National Immigration Institute); including a visit to the migrant holding center Estación Migratoria Siglo XXI in Tapachula. We were able to dialogue with a range of Chiapas state officials in charge of law enforcement and economic development in the border region. We visited two migrant shelters run by Scalabrini priests, one on each side of the border, and held meetings with NGO representatives and academics working on issues of human rights protection in relation to migrants, migrant workers, sex workers and victims of human trafficking. Finally, we met with Guatemala’s interagency border security task force, Fuerza de Tarea Interinstitucional Tecun Uman, including personnel from several Guatemalan government agencies.

In this brief publication, each of the five researchers participating in the visit presents a short reflection based on several of these encounters.

Click here to read the publication. 


UPCOMING EVENT! Strengthening Regional Competitiveness: An Update on the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue

February 26, 2015

obama_nieto_featureWHEN: Wednesday, March 4, 9:30-11:00am

WHERE: 6th Floor Auditorium, Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, DC

Click here to RSVP.

When Presidents Obama and Peña Nieto announced the creation of U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue (HLED) in May 2013, they established a new strategic vision for economic cooperation, focused on delivering tangible and positive economic benefits to the people of the United States and Mexico. Stakeholder engagement is a fundamental component of the HLED, as highlighted by its inclusion in the recently announced list of 2015 strategic goals. Other key areas of work for the year include energy; modern borders; workforce development, regulatory cooperation; and partnering for regional and global leadership. Speakers will discuss the accomplishments of the HLED and priorities in U.S.-Mexico economic cooperation for the coming year.

Speakers

Stefan Selig
Under Secretary for International Trade, U.S. Department of Commerce

Catherine Novelli
Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, U.S. Department of State

José Raúl Perales
Assistant Secretary for the Private Sector, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Susan Kurland
Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs, U.S. Department of Transportation

Adam Sieminski
Administrator, U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy

Lori Faeth
Acting Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior

Kenneth Smith Ramos
Minister Counselor, Trade and NAFTA Office, Embassy of Mexico

For more information, or to RSVP, click here.

A live webcast will be available here.


Latest Border Stats Point to Heavy Child, Family Migration in 2015

February 12, 2015

2/11/2015 Washington Office on Latin America

Border - MexicoA wave of Central American children and families, many fleeing violence in their home countries, received heavy media attention in the summer of 2014. Then, the wave receded quickly: by August 2014, the U.S. Border Patrol was apprehending fewer unaccompanied Central American children than it was in August 2013. The humanitarian crisis disappeared from the headlines.

The crisis is not over. If current trends continue, child and family apprehensions in 2015 will fall behind 2014, but still exceed 2013 and every other year on record.

Read more…


How to Boost Border Competitiveness? Just Ask the Folks There.

February 10, 2015

2/10/2015 Forbes.com

By Christopher Wilson and Erik Lee

border coverFor years, the United States’ southern border with Mexico has provoked a range of fears, from terrorism and drugs to overwhelming numbers of unauthorized immigrants, prompting a security-first and often security-only approach to border management. Fear-based rhetoric may resonate in the echo chambers of Washington DC, but it feels wholly out of touch to most (though not all) residents of border communities.

Thankfully, with U.S.-Mexico trade at historic highs and growing faster than trade with any other major trading partner, it is increasingly difficult to ignore the importance of safe and efficient border management to the regional economy. U.S.-Mexico trade is now valued at well over a half trillion dollars per year, 80 percent of which crosses the U.S.-Mexico land border. This trade supports around six million U.S. jobs, and systems of co-production in manufacturing allow companies to combine the comparative advantages of the United States and Mexico, boosting the competitiveness of North America as a whole.

These trends are leading some political leaders to the realization that many in the border region have known for years: the border itself creates a lot of economic opportunity for both nations. And these folks in the border region—popularly imagined to be barely hanging on in a hail of gunfire, even on the sleepy U.S. side—are careful observers of what works and what does not work in terms of trade and economic development. Knowing this, we joined several other organizations in a year-long deep dive into the inner workings of the U.S.-Mexico border economy. But then even we were surprised by the sheer number, variety and magnitude of ideas emanating from this enormous, misunderstood and underappreciated region.

Read more…


Report Sees Border Opportunities

February 4, 2015

2/3/2015 U-T San Diego

border coverRich in potential, the U.S.-Mexico border’s economic future can be strengthened through measures such as educational exchanges, renewable energy clusters, binational planning efforts, and improved connections among economic development groups on both sides of the border, according to a report released Tuesday.

The U.S.-Mexico Border Economy in Transition” focuses on the opportunities and challenges that face border communities in both countries. For all their differences, these communities face many common needs, the report states, chief among them the need for more fluid border crossings.

The 141-page report resulted from a collaboration among the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C., the North American Research Partnership, the Border Legislative Conference and the Council of State Governments-West. Many of the recommendations incorporate issues raised during four regional competitiveness forums conducted last year in San Diego; Rio Rico, Ariz.; and Laredo and El Paso, Texas.

Read more…

Download the report here.


The U.S.-Mexico Border: Reporting on an Economy in Transition

February 3, 2015

chris wilsonThe Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute has released a new report, “The U.S.-Mexico Border economy in Transition.” The report provides insight into day to day life and commerce along the border, and provides a series of recommendations to strengthen competitiveness. We spoke with Mexico Institute Senior Associate, Chris Wilson, to learn more about both the unique process behind the report and also about some of the best ideas emerging from the year-long project. That’s the focus of this edition of Wilson Center NOW.


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