Carlos Lozano de la Torre
Former Governor of the State of Aguascalientes
View from the Top

Aguascalientes at the Forefront of Sustainability

Wed, 02/24/2016 - 16:06

Aguascalientes that position it as an attractive investment destination?

A: Our previous experience played a major role in this process. Aguascalientes’ standards of competitiveness, productivity, and knowledge have been more advanced than what could be found in other countries, but its defining factors have been the working environment, the safety of the region, and the educational level of the local workforce. Aguascalientes offers many investment opportunities. Its geographic location offers a natural advantage, as the state is fairly close to the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. It is also situated at a short distance from the border, and it is less than 500km away from the largest markets in the country. In addition, we have lower inflation ratings compared to the national indicators, and we have important infrastructure projects planned for the future. In terms of electricity, Aguascalientes is probably the only state with no energy fluctuation whatsoever, thanks to a network grid encircling the region, completely interconnected, with triple redundancy.

Q: What were your specific strategies in fostering Aguascalientes’ current status in terms of energy generation?

A: Nothing happening in Aguascalientes is circumstantial. I presented these goals in my campaign and I built my whole strategy around them. Once I took office, we already knew what we had to do financially, and in terms of safety and education, we developed a program based on six strategic pillars: economic and social progress, legality and safety, efficiency, education, sustainability, and quality of life, to regenerate the industry in Aguascalientes. We are now the most advantageously positioned state in the country, we are the second safest state just behind Yucatan, and we are the third state in terms of low corruption perception according to IMCO and CIDE.

Q: What are the key strategies Aguascalientes considers in matters of energy and sustainability in order to offer a better quality of life and security to its inhabitants?

A: We have become the first state with a thorough environmental strategy, and we are the number one state in urban development and housing. In fact, SEDATU’s strategy for the country was taken from the Aguascalientes model. Environmental practices are not only focused on companies, we are also trying to instill a green mindset in each individual. We work closely with the federal government and with the industry to develop all our strategies, and we are leaders in water treatment processes, waste disposal, recycling, and energy management. Aguascalientes is the only state with electric taxis, and we have a program to provide solar water heaters to senior citizens. We are the state with the largest amount of green areas per inhabitant, and we have just started construction of a 700 hectares park.

We are heavily involved with sustainability, and it is a common theme across all our projects. In terms of our electric vehicles project, we are still at an early stage and it remains an expensive technology. At the moment, the cars are recharging directly from CFE, but we are planning a strategy to generate this electricity through solar energy. Aguascalientes is one of the states with the largest solar exposure in the country, so we are turning one of our weaknesses into an opportunity, becoming the first to cover the entire cycle of energy generation. Currently, we have some zones where people can recharge their vehicles, but one of our goals is to offer these solar energy stations to electric car owners for free. CFE has already presented its proposal to us, and we are planning to launch the project within the next six months.

Q: What future plans do you have for the state, and how do you want to end your term as Governor?

A: We still have one and a half years to consolidate all these projects. Aguascalientes has always been an important contributor to Mexican culture, we are currently finalizing a cultural complex in our old train terminal facilities. Every day we meet new companies interested in establishing operations in the state, and we are continuously announcing new investments. Banamex’s forecast for this year places us as the largest-growing state in the country with a GDP increase of 7.8%, displaying that the incorporation of sustainability into our development reaps not only benefits for the environment, but also for the economy