The US wants to help Mexico bankroll its ambitious plan for a slew of solar parks along their border, which is likely to require private funds and development bank loans, according to a top diplomat focused on Latin America.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said Mexico is looking to build five solar farms in Sonora state. The government has said the financing could come from sources including development banks, as part of a $48 billion clean energy investment through 2030. The project also aims to develop battery production, and lithium mining and to help auto factories pivot to make electric vehicles.
“I expect there will need to be a mixture of governmental, multilateral development bank and private financing to realize these types of projects,” US Assistant Secretary of State Brian Nichols said in an interview Monday as part of a summit of North American leaders in Mexico City. “I’m optimistic that if we work creatively together, we can achieve that.”
Nichols, who is in charge of the Western Hemisphere in the State Department, said there would be a joint effort to pitch a US semiconductor industry group on relocating supply chains to North America. But he didn’t back Mexico’s idea of together making direct approaches to individual companies.
“We’re going to work with our national association of semiconductor suppliers across the three countries to engage on that,” said Nichols. “That is a more efficient and market-led way to do this than door knocks on whatever number of companies directly.”
To develop the sector, North America needs to synchronize its regulations, provide ample access to clean energy and train up its workforces, Nichols also said.
While Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he hoped the summit could be an opportunity to make progress on a trade deal dispute against Mexico’s protectionist energy policies, in the interview Nichols said the leaders are unlikely to go into much detail on the matter during the encounter.