National Solar Energy Week is like a breath of fresh air, set as it is against the backdrop of politicking over privatization of the Mexican petroleum industry in the upcoming presidential administration. The occasion fuels hope for clean alternatives to the dirty business of oil exploitation.

While the National Solar Energy Association (ANES) was holding its event October 2-6 in Veracruz, on the Gulf Coast of Mexico, the Group of Eight rich nations plus a dozen others were having their second G8+5 Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change, Clean Energy, and Sustainable Development October 3-5 in Monterrey, only a few hours from the border with the United States.

The association’s agenda was the most recent addition to an ongoing 30-year effort to structure a national training program to help everyone from kids to scholars to decision-makers to end-users of electricity understand the utility of solar and wind power in cost effectiveness for health and the environment. Once the awareness is raised, great strides can be made in that realm.

ANES board member Eduardo Rincón Mejía, a professor at the Mexico State Autonomous University, speaks for many of Mexico’s most brilliant minds when he notes that the country’s abundance of sun and wind can provide for all its energy requirements for several centuries to come, if only we could somehow shift away from the current 90% dependence on fossil fuels.

Rincón says that Mexico has to get on the stick and move over to renewable energy sources within a 20-year time span if it expects any real development.