Abengoa is proposing a concentrated solar power (CSP) plant outside Mexicali, Baja California’s capital.

Renewable energy sources such as wind power and solar energy offer new possibilities for Baja California, former U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said Thursday.

“You have the opportunity to become a net energy exporter to California, one of the largest energy markets in the world,” Richardson told an audience at Tijuana Innovadora, a 10-day conference that seeks to highlight the region’s potential.

Richardson, a two-time governor of New Mexico and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is currently on the board of directors of a Spanish company, Abengoa Solar. The company is proposing a concentrated solar power plant outside Mexicali, Baja California’s capital.

Richardson has met with Baja California Gov. Francisco Vega de Lamadrid. He said the latter is “very interested in solar,” but he offered no further details about the project during a news conference following his presentation, saying that discussions have only just begun.

With recent energy reforms in Mexico, Richardson said, “there is no more viable new industry that will attract joint investment.” Companies from countries far from the border, such as the European Union, China and Taiwan, are likely to be interested, he said.

Richardson, whose mother was Mexican, shifted easily between English and Spanish as he addressed the audience. He touched on a range of subjects, including immigration reform, the rising political power of U.S. Hispanics, and the potential for the cross-border region that includes San Diego and Imperial counties as well as Baja California.

Earlier Thursday, Richardson visited Andrew Tahmooressi, the U.S. Marine veteran on trial in Baja California on federal weapons charges. “I feel that the Baja California corrections officers and the Mexican government have been very helpful,” said Richardson, who runs a foundation that negotiates the release of prisoners and hostages in foreign countries. “I respect Mexico’s judicial process, and my hope is Andrew will soon be released.”