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Neighboring 'Californias' Could Bring More Power To Arizona-Sonora

MEXICO CITY — The Energy Roundtable and the Sonora Summit, or Cumbre Sonora, will be held this Wednesday and Thursday in Hermosillo.

According to their organizers, Arizona representatives will travel to the summit as part of their continuing trade partnerships and to foster new alliances, and some new players could be added soon to the so-called "megaregion."

“We think the Sonora-Arizona megaregion is a good example of what can be done if there is political will, and if we understand that we are complementary economies.” said César Reyes, partner at Zumma, organizers of Cumbre Sonora and the Energy Roundtable.

Reyes said the conversations will focus on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), as well as on the possible impacts from this year’s Mexican presidential elections.

For him, it there are two different trade conversations happening nowadays: the one discussed in Mexico City, Ottawa and Washington (NAFTA), and what’s been discussed on the border.

“In the end, it’s not about trade deficits or trade wars, but about complementing economies,” Reyes said.

But the energy roundtable and business summit will bring together new and old partners from both sides of the border, as well.

According to the partner in Zumma, Cumbre Sonora and the Energy Roundtable are expecting not only Mexican representatives of the private and public sectors, but also American representations from organizations such as TransCanyon and the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Energy generation and exchange will also be key components on the conversations, as well as on how to increase the investments on infrastructure to improve it, Reyes said.

"This whole region is benefited by very good resources. We’ve already seen some of the lowest energy prices on both sides of the border,” said Jonathan Pinzón, an energy expert from Zumma.

“Even if politically they’ve been differences, the region in itself is benefiting a lot from their shared interests and their own resources, " Pinzón said.

Natural gas has been part of the conversation, as well as electric power. Both will continue to be important topics during the business meetings.

But a relevant issue in these talks is also the possibility of expanding the Sonora-Arizona megaregion through electricity. According to Pinzón, there’s the potential of bringing two more allies: the neighboring states of Baja California, in Mexico, and California, in the U.S.

“There have been conversations of having a border energy highway, and that makes sense,” Pinzón said.

One goal of the summit is to address the possibility of a high voltage power grid tying together all four states, and even benefiting the entire Mexican power network.

Rodrigo Cervantes is KJZZ’s bureau chief in Mexico City, where he was born and raised. He has served as opinion writer, contributor and commentator for several media outlets and organizations in Mexico and the United States, including CNN, Georgia Public Broadcasting and Univisión. Cervantes previously worked as the business editor and editorial coordinator for El Norte, the leading newspaper in Monterrey and a publication of Grupo Reforma, Mexico’s premier news group. In Mexico City, Cervantes served in Reforma as a reporter, special correspondent, editor and special sections coordinator. Cervantes also held the editor position at MundoHispánico, a division of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia’s oldest and largest Latino newspaper. He also participated as one of the first members of the Diversity Advisory Group for Cox Media. In 2012, Cervantes was appointed as fellow for the Leadership Program of The New York Times/Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, as well as for the "Líderes Digitales" program from the International Center for Journalists. In 2010, he was awarded with the Poynter-McCormick Leadership Fellowship. Cervantes graduated with honors in communication sciences and journalism from the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM), Mexico City Campus. Later, he was granted the Fundación Carolina Scholarship from the Spanish government to obtain an MBA degree at San Pablo-CEU School of Business (Madrid). Other awards include: the Power 30 Under 30 Award for Professional and Community Excellence in Atlanta, the Outstanding Alumni Medal from ITESM, and several José Martí Awards for Journalism Excellence from the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP). Cervantes enjoys music, books, travel, friendship, good mezcal and the occasional company of his guitar.