U.S., Mexico Collaborate on Renewable Energy

Posted by Robert Gatehouse
March 27, 2009
Secretary Clinton Delivers Remarks at Benlesa Biogas Plant

Interactive Travel Map | Text the SecretaryAbout the Author: Robert Gatehouse serves as a Vice Consul at the U.S. Consulate General in Monterrey, Mexico.

After the meet and greet with the consulate community, the Secretary’s motorcade made its way to the industrial sector on the outskirts of town. There, on a few acres next to the municipal landfill, the Secretary visited the Benlesa biogas plant.

Benlesa is a strategic alliance between the government of the state of Nuevo Leon through SIMEPRODE (System for Ecological Waste Management & Processing) and the private company SEISA (Sistemas de Energia Internacional S.A. de C.V.). The plant converts methane captured from biomatter in the landfill into clean electricity.

In 2003, Benlesa began operations with a capacity of 7 megawatts and currently produces 12 megawatts of electrical power. By the end of this year, the facility will expand to 16 megawatts, providing Monterrey with enough clean energy to power the local metro rail system and 40% of the public lighting in the metropolitan area. It is already the biggest facility of its kind in the Americas and will be one of the largest in the world once the expansion is complete.

After a meeting at the facility, the Secretary observed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between U.S. and Mexican universities. Highlights of the collaborative agreement include the creation of joint degree programs between the University of Texas and the Monterrey Institute of Technology, one of the premier private universities in northern Mexico, and the development of a joint research program between those schools and the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon, Nuevo Leon’s dynamic public university, and the Monterrey City of Knowledge. Under the agreement, those four institutions will share information and design joint research programs to expand renewable energy.

If diplomacy used to be conducted in smoky sitting rooms and parlors, facilities like the Benlesa biogas plant may be the more typical venue for the modern diplomat. The methane burners, giant vats of machine oil, and electric transformers as a backdrop to Secretary Clinton's remarks all contributed to the sense of industry and government cooperating for a better environment and a better future.

It was a fitting end to a jam-packed trip to Mexico.



Maryland, USA
March 28, 2009

Patrick in Maryland writes:

This is a great start on renewable energy for Mexico. I thought the Idea of a joint research program, on renewable energy sounded very good. I hope the signing of the Memorandum, leads too the ferthing of Mexico's renewable energy programs .

I think Secretary Clintons trip to Mexico was a success. I would like to see some photos of her trip...:).

Cya :)

DipNote Bloggers write:

@ Patrick in Maryland -- Thank you for your comment. You may view more photos of the Secretary's trip on Flickr.

Austin P.
Maryland, USA
March 28, 2009

Austin P. in Maryland writes:

I like this idea of green energy. Also, it's great to see Mexico in a positive light in the news. There's been way too much trouble with the narcos lately but I really like that there are still progressive industries in Mexico.

Monterrey is my family's hometown and I have always had a strong affinity for it. To see that they are helping lead the world into a greener future brings a wide smile to my face.

I also enjoy the irony in such that the source of the green energy is actually a landfill. I think it shows the resourcefulness of mankind when faced with adversity (in this case, growing waste and shrinking resources) and how we are capable of creating almost anything when we need to.

I agree entirely with Secretary Clinton. It is only by having government move hand in hand with industry that we will take our greatest leaps towards a green future. I applaud her for the job she has done so far and I applaud SIMEPRODE and SEISA for all that they have achieved so far.

California, USA
March 28, 2009

Wendy in California writes:

Dear Vice Consul Gatehouse,

This memorandum of understanding among U.S. & Mexican universities is simply fabulous. This is the kind of collaboration that the dear world has to get after pronto.

I loved your contrast of the old smoky parlours with the new smart energy facilities as Venues for Diplomacy. What a frisson! It's so exciting. I feel so much closer to a sustainably sane future. With all you smart and dedicated people working so hard at it, it's just a hop, skip, and a quantum jump away. Hurray!

California, USA
March 29, 2009

Wendy in California writes:

ps. I've been sending the following to all my friends.

In all of my 64 years, this is the first time that I EVER heard an American official ever say that someone else is doing something better than the United States. I stood up and cheered so loud I scared the cat. Being gracious and giving other people credit. What a novel idea.

Find SecState Hillary's !wonderful! Benlesa Municipal Plant speech at


I'm archiving this particular speech as the moment when I feel like our dear country became mature enough in confidence and self-esteem to give up bragging and posturing and to realize (make real) the power of praising others for original ideas and efforts. It is beautiful.

South Korea
March 30, 2009

Palgye in South Korea writes:

-- before saying, mourning to the dead (both) official and citizen

i agrees Sec will.

Mexicos`s problem is simple. 1-5% have all power and wealth. a national is poverty, very.

if, mid-class tec transfer and old(?)factories move to (factory itself,like a moving), open to foreign investment to Mexico make rapidly improve and will be Back industry and good market. yes, will be. but, fair sharing is all.(just my`s)

everyones know, job and purchasing power (scondary industry is good to..) is good.

p.s do, know Harrison Ford? he is good at Patriot Games (he acted "shadow", abandoned his official`s) -- sorry, i just, worried.


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