Support for the U.S. - Mexico Border Energy Forum
Project Description: With funding from the EPA, TCEQ/Border Affairs established an inter-agency agreement with the Texas General Land Office (GLO) during the 2008-09 fiscal year biennium. Funds were primarily used to support the annual Border Energy Forum (BEF), an annual event organized by the GLO since 1994. A smaller portion of the funds were used by the GLO to develop a website to facilitate the exchange of information between the United States and Mexico on priority issues for the energy sector and a binational tour of the largest solar installation on the border.
The agreement helped support the XV BEF held in Monterrey, Nuevo León in October 2008 and planning for the XVI Forum held in Houston, Texas in October 2009. The goal of each year’s BEF is to provide a venue for public and private stakeholders in both countries to exchange information on energy supply and demand in each country, including emerging technologies, and on the commercial energy flows between the two countries.
The 2008 BEF in Monterrey attracted a record crowd of more than 300 attendees. It was held in conjunction with the Alliance to Save Energy’s Watergy program, which addresses the nexus between water use and energy use (both directions). TCEQ Chairman Buddy Garcia was a featured speaker, and Steve Niemeyer of Border Affairs spoke on water and efficiency programs in a panel in the Watergy track.
GLO hosted a workshop in June 2009 in Harlingen to propose a plan for BEF XVI, held in October in Houston. The workshop included a tour of the award-winning solar installation that partially powers the San Benito Water Treatment Plant. Among the participants was the president of the Asociación Nacional de Energía Solar (Mexican National Solar Association). Meeting participants decided to include a major focus on solar energy at BEF XVI.
The other activity under this agreement was the revitalization of the "Border Energy" website. This site emphasizes energy efficiency, in a bilingual, binational fashion. It was originally developed by the border energy task force of the Western Governors Association (WGA), but had been inactive for at least the past two years and needed a face-lift to make it more appealing to today’s web audience, as well as to update information.