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ELECTRI International 2019 Cross-Border Meeting Recap

May 6, 2019
ELECTRI Council contractors, manufacturers and distributors traveled to the coastal town of Playa Herradura, Costa Rica, for ELECTRI International’s 2019 Cross-Border meeting. Each Cross-Border gathering provides educational and hands-on experiences plus offering attendees time to renew long-standing relationships and explore new business opportunities. Guests from the United States, Mexico, and Costa Rica included both first-time participants and many others who have attended several Cross-Border meetings.

The welcome and opening reception was a festive gathering with business and government officials and industry members from Costa Rica. Taking place at the Villa Caletas, high atop the bluffs overlooking Playa Herradura, guests enjoyed local flavors and entertainment. The warm interaction and inviting conversation gave everyone a taste of the rich program to follow the next morning.

ELECTRI’s good friend in Costa Rica, Gustavo Varela Latouche, CEO of Comtel Ingenieria, San Jose, Costa Rica, did an excellent job organizing presentations for our program. Government and business representatives including Jason Lucas, (Lucas Ingenieros), Luis Chinchilla (OPIA), and Adolph Benavidas (Thunder Electric) led a panel presentation with Gustavo. They explored Costa Rica’s economic growth balanced with its environmental and ecological focus on preserving the country’s natural resources. The panel was proud to note that Costa Rica is very close to becoming the first country to be completely carbon neutral.

Following the panel presentation, attendees heard a most informative and educational address by Salvador Lopez Alfara, ICE CENCE. He is the Costa Rican equivalent to the U.S. Secretary of Energy. Salvador gave an in-depth review of Costa Rica’s investment, construction, and on-going progress and expansion as the world’s leading country in carbon reduction and renewable energy. Next, Daniel Roman (CINDE, Economic Development Council) shared a report on foreign investment impact on the local economy.

Some guests left early on Friday for a three-hour drive north to tour the Miravalles geothermal power plant, celebrating 25 years since it first began construction and operations. With a large solar farm nearby, a wind farm not far on the distant mountain ridges, and a hydro-electric plant just a few miles from the geothermal plant, the Guanacaste region is unique in offering this variety of renewable energy sources in such proximity. Photos of the region show the area has transformed to a much more lush and green landscape since the renewable power sources have been installed.

More than 250,000 people receive electric power in this small mountainous region. The power sources provide clean, renewable, and cheap electricity for the residents of the Guanacaste region. Along the ride to and from Miravalles, the Cross-Border group experienced seeing beautiful wildlife in the rainforests literally along the roadside. From crocodiles on the riverbanks, to multiple sightings of scarlet macaws and native monkeys, to say nothing of grazing cattle, the scenes were breathtaking.

The closing festivities included an incredible dinner buffet on the sand, beneath the stars. In addition to great food and drink, a performance by a popular local vocal band helped highlight participants’ wonderful time of visiting and comparing notes about all of the activities. As the band played and the night of festivity continued, everyone enjoyed the opportunity to toast s’mores over an open fire pit.

2019 Cross-Border attendees agreed that the beautiful surroundings of Los Suenos and the people of Costa Vica made the meeting even more beautiful than imagined – “pura vida!”

Participants are very excited about the 2020 Cross-Border meeting coming to a fantastic location in Mexico! Watch for details. We’ll see you there!
Top photo: Salvador Lopez Alfara, ICE CENCE
Middle photos: Gustavo Varela Latouche, CEO, Comtel Ingenieria; Meeting Participants
Bottom photos: Sonja Rheaume, Christenson Electric, Inc. and Joey Shorter, Executive Director, ELECTRI International; Mark and Renee Huston, Lone Star Electric