viernes, mayo 4

There are no Panaceas!

The creation of electric energy through alternative technologies like wind, solar, biofuels or small hydroelectric dams, have been promoted as the solution to satisfy the growing energy demand and reduction of atmospheric pollution to fight global warming. In order to comply with the environmental commitments made by Mexico to the international community, on November 28th 2008, a renewable energy use and energetic transition funding bill was passed (modified 01/12/2012); with the goal of regulating the use of renewable energy sources and clean technologies to generate electricity towards public use. It states that energy may be created by third parties for own use with option to sell the exceeding energy to Mexico's Federal Electricity Commission at lower rates.

Part of the audience at the San Diego Renewable Energy Forum organized by Terra Peninsular at the U.S. Grant Hotel. Photo by Terra Peninsular

With the legislators' objective of creating the legal instrument to generate "clean" energy to benefit the small businesses and rural communities, up until today, the only beneficiaries have been the big corporations that generate their own energy and others that have installed wind turbines in Isthmus of Tehuantepec (Oaxaca, Mexico), and begin to do the so in the Sierra de Juarez in Baja California. It is true that wind energy can be a clean energy because it yields no polluting residue into the atmosphere, but it is questionable when asking how the equipment is produced and installed; it is not so "clean" when analyzing the practices used by the energy corporations to obtain the environmental permits, or how the migratory birds flight patterns are altered and how sacred ceremonial and cultural indigenous sites are destroyed. If on top of this, we add the impact caused by the energy transmission lines and the means through which they get access and rights into ejidos and indigenous communities reservations, the supposed "clean energy" endorsed in the bill passed, is not so clean anymore.

The State of California long term strategy to create a more efficient energy by the installation of roof top solar panels on millions of homes has not been analyzed in Mexico. The possible benefits that this type of energy generation would bring to Mexico that is not contemplated in the renewable energy bill has to be promoted. Including this alternative into the bill would allow maximizing the use of roofs to generate a source of income and give autonomy to whom choose to support Mexico's energy independence; it would also do justice to the environment and community members would have the choice whether to sign a 30 year contract for use of their land or invest in generating their own electricity.

By Federico Gama

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