California Governor Brown signs MOU with Mexico to encourage cross-border renewable energy development

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Mexican Secretary of Energy Pedro Jaoquín Coldwell to encourage cross-border renewable energy investments, including expansion of solar PV.

The non-binding memorandum of understanding comes during a multi-day trade and investment mission to Mexico, and the day after signing a comprehensive climate change agreement with the nation’s government. In addition to renewable energy, the MOU also includes grid operation, energy efficiency, demand response, energy storage and biofuels as areas of future cooperation.

Cooperation between California and Mexico will include work plans to be developed between the Mexican Ministry of Energy (SENER) and the California Energy Commission (CEC), in collaboration with other state agencies.

The document does not dedicate any funds to this joint work. However, in a press statement Governor Brown’s Office notes that it will include an exploration of integrating the Mexican State of Baja California Norte into the California Independent System Operator’s Energy Imbalance Market.

Brown is the second governor of a U.S. state to travel to Mexico and discuss renewable energy this year. In March Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick went to the Mexican state of Zacatecas to announce a 30 MW solar PV project which is being supplied by companies from his state.

While California’s MOU is non-binding, the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) called the agreement “exciting” and noted that such high-level discussions between leaders are “nothing but good news for the solar industry”.

And while the agreement is not very specific on a number of details, CALSEIA Executive Director Bernadette Del Chiaro emphasizes that any policies which follow this start should encourage solar at all scales.

“Going forward, the key for success will be to make sure both Mexico and California continue to promote all forms of solar power, solar PV and hot water, as well as rooftop and utility-scale projects,” states Del Chiaro. “Ultimately, rooftop solar and utility-scale solar are both needed to promote a more sustainable future and to drive long-lasting economic development and local job creation.”