UC president joins Mexican government officials for announcement of $10 million in new funding for joint energy efficiency research projects

University of California President Janet Napolitano today (March 30) joined Mexican Secretary of Energy Pedro Joaquín Coldwell in Mexico City for an announcement of $10 million in new funding to support energy efficiency research projects led by Mexican research institutions in collaboration with UC researchers.

Building on a Memorandum of Understanding signed by UC and the Ministry of Energy of Mexico (SENER) in October 2014, Secretary Joaquín today officially launched a request for proposals that will award up to $200 million pesos, or $10 million U.S. dollars, from the SENER-CONACYT Energy Sustainability Fund (FSE) to energy efficiency research projects in Mexico. In order to be eligible for funding, projects must include the active participation of UC researchers.

UC, a leader in energy sustainability, is partnering with SENER, FSE and research institutions in Mexico to accelerate the clean energy transition on both sides of the Mexico-California border through applied research collaborations and exchanges of students and faculty. Today’s announcement reflects a major step forward in these collaborations between UC researchers and their colleagues in Mexico, and their yearlong efforts to identify priorities within the areas of lighting technology, energy and water efficiency, smart buildings and the future electric grid. This request for proposals will further advance shared goals of increasing energy efficiency in buildings and cities by investing in demonstration projects and microgrids.

Napolitano recognized and applauded SENER’s leadership in promoting the collaboration between UC and Mexico and the transition to a low-carbon economy that will generate significant benefits for Mexicans and Californians.

“Through demonstration projects, innovative technology and integrated solutions to optimize our energy use, we will work together to achieve Mexico’s and California’s common long-term goal of finding solutions to the biggest challenges that humanity faces,” Napolitano said. “What works in Mexico will help Californians — just as what works in California will benefit Mexicans.”

Secretary Joaquín emphasized that “the promotion of science and the development of talent and human capital is key for the transformation and modernization of Mexico’s energy sector. I want to reiterate my appreciation and recognition of President Janet Napolitano for her leadership and contribution to the prosperity of the North American region. Her work is having a significant contribution to the formation of specialized human capital and in the field of clean energy in California and Mexico.”

As a public research university, UC is dedicated to finding solutions to the related pressing global problems of climate change, air pollution and access to clean water. Each of these challenges is connected to having access to clean, affordable energy. The UC system is leading by example and partnering with institutions in Mexico and around the world to secure that access. Napolitano launched the UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative in 2013, setting the goal for the UC system to become carbon-neutral by 2025. To date, energy efficiency measures and clean energy projects implemented across the UC system have generated savings of $28 million a year in energy costs.

Napolitano launched the UC-Mexico Initiative in 2014 to foster sustained and strategic partnerships between UC and Mexican universities, governmental agencies, the private sector and foundations, and to address topics of mutual concern. The initiative continues to focus on key areas of interest to both California and Mexico, as well as the United States: energy, environment, education, health, and arts and culture.