While driving home to Puerto Aventuras from Playa del Carmen
recently,I was pulled over by the police.
As an American driving a big black SUV with U.S. plates,I am always
apprehensive when I am stopped by the police in Mexico. These feelings are based upon the stories of
others that tell of being extorted and falsely accused of crimes by police
officers,leaving them with a very bad sentiment towards law enforcement.
There were two officers in the patrol car that pulled me over. They both took the time to come up my car,
shake hands and introduce themselves. In
English,they asked for my credentials,and explained to me that I was stopped
because I had been speeding. While I
cannot exactly remember how fast I had been traveling,they were probably
right,and I was not going to argue about it.
If this was going to continue to go the way that I had heard,the next
step would have been for the officers to tell me that I had to pay them for the
ticket right then and there,so I would not have to go down for the station and
pay to get my license back.
Instead,they informed me that I was receiving a "courtesy
ticket." A what? Then they handed me a survey,which asked me
if the officers were courteous and had explained why I had been stopped. Mystified and relieved,I filled out the
form,giving the officers excellent reviews,and handed it back. They told me to have a nice day,and drove
I am not sure if I was just lucky to have caught those particular
officers at the right time,but I would like to think that the police
department in Playa del Carmen is beginning to care about their
reputation. Considering that the Riviera
Maya is responsible for seventy percent of a fifteen billion dollar a year
tourism industry, it should be important
to them that the millions of annual visitors feel both safe and respected while
enjoying everything this paradise has to offer.
I am officially one of those people.
Baha Sun Energy SRL announced this
month that it plans to invest more than $500 million USD in a solar-panel
factory and energy farm located just west of Baja California's Mexicali
community. The new plant,which is backed heavily by Taiwan,will sell power to
both the US and Mexico and will be under construction by November of 2011.
The new project will be the first of
its kind in Mexico to integrate the manufacture of solar cells with the
production of usable energy,according to David Tenney,who is the chief
financial officer for the Silicon Border CleanTECH Park where the new plant
will reside. The facility will initially require a $60 million investment to
create a 10-megawatt solar farm,which will eventually expand to a $500 million
investment and the capacity to generate more than 100 megawatts of energy.
“Mexico has more sunshine per capita
than most countries in the world,” said Baja California governor Jose Guadalupe
Osuna Millan. “Mexico can be one of the world's largest players in this process
given our cost and location advantages.”
“It's one of the most favorable
climates for producing solar power,” shared Tenney of Baja's sunny landscape.
“The financial crisis really put a stop on a great percentage of renewable
energy investments. We're feeling like we're in a great position.”
Tenney went on to discuss the excellent
strategic location near three cross-border transmission lines near Baja
California's La Rosita switch and the low cost and high skill level of the
labor force in Mexico as compared to other countries,even China. In addition,
the California utility companies are currently facing strong pressure to shift
their energy to more renewable options,such as wind,solar and geothermal
technology. In fact,a piece of recently signed legislation requires that
one-third of the retail sales of electricity in the state come from renewables
by the year 2020,which is one of the strictest mandates in the entire US.