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Mexico’s $8 Billion Power Projects May Cut California Emissions

June 23 (Bloomberg) -- Mexico expects foreign investment in renewable energy to almost triple this year to $8 billion, helping U.S. states such as California to slash carbon emissions, said the head of the Latin American nation’s investment promotions agency.

ProMexico, as the agency is known, is in talks with European and U.S. wind and solar-power companies for four to five projects this year, compared with four projects totaling $3 billion in 2010, agency chief Carlos Guzman said in an interview in London today. Companies with operations in Mexico, such as Italy’s Enel SpA, Spain’s Iberdrola SA, Acciona SA or Abengoa SA could make additional investments, he said.

Countries including Spain are taking advantage of Mexico’s mountain ranges and a 3,000-kilometer (1,800-mile) border with the U.S. to build wind, solar and small hydroelectric plants, Guzman said. Mexico could help California meet a requirement for state utilities to get a third of their power from renewable sources by 2020, the U.S.’s most ambitious standard, he said.

“It’s very difficult for California to achieve that in such a short period,” said Guzman. “So many of the projects we’re generating in Mexico have in mind that they could serve the Californian market. We still have to work on the regulatory side, but it’s a possibility.”

Mexico’s proximity to the U.S. is a “tremendous asset” that facilitates the supply of power as well as trade, according to Guzman. The southern neighbor helped maintain U.S. electricity supply by selling it additional energy after forest fires and snowstorms affected output in the past year, he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Laura Price in London at lprice3@bloomberg.net; Karen Eeuwens in London at keeuwens@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

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