SXSW Eco: Promises and Challenges of Energy Along the Border
“My first wind project [in Mexico] was outside of Monterrey,” Storment recalled Thursday at a panel on U.S.-Mexico border issues at the SXSW Eco conference. He has worked on energy projects along the U.S.-Mexico border for 20 years. His latest venture, Green Hub Advisors, focuses on renewable energy development in the region. To install that first wind turbine, Storment’s group had hired a professor from the Monterrey Institute of Technology. “He told us it was really difficult to set up,” Storment said, “so we took him out there.”
After off-roading for a while they got to the turbine. “And the only way they got the tower there was because the gentleman who owned the land was a narco-trafficker,” Storment said. “Typically, he didn’t let people on his land, but he was a big fan of wind. He told us, ‘If you do do this, I want to buy wind energy.’”
Storment likes to use that story to illustrate the nuances of energy development along the border. While the region might be ripe for renewable energy projects, there are plenty of challenges as well.
The border region from California to Texas is one of huge potential, according to the panel.
While some of that potential lies in fossil fuel developments (the Eagle Ford Shale, after all, doesn’t stop at the border, and neither does oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico), the panel mostly focused on the renewable promise of the region.