This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

June 24, 2009

Clean Energy Emphasized at the Americas Energy and Climate Symposium

Energy efficiency and renewable energy were the major focus of energy ministers and other government leaders from throughout the Americas in mid-June, as they converged on Lima, Peru, for the Americas Energy and Climate Symposium. At the symposium, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced a Low Carbon Communities Program, which will assist countries in developing energy efficiency and renewable energy programs that will reduce the carbon footprint of their urban communities. Through the initiative, DOE will partner with participating countries to develop building energy standards and to adopt modern urban planning strategies, including transit-oriented development. DOE will provide technical assistance and limited funding to help achieve those goals. Energy leaders also announced the development of a Regional Energy Efficiency Center, supported by Peru, and a Regional Wind Center, supported by Mexico.

The symposium was the first major energy event after the Summit of the Americas in April, where President Barack Obama announced the formation of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA). The president invited all Western Hemisphere countries to be part of a united effort under the ECPA, and since then, the regional response has been overwhelmingly positive across all five elements of the ECPA: energy efficiency, renewable energy, cleaner fossil fuels, critical infrastructure, and energy development to help alleviate poverty. The Americas Energy and Climate Symposium took place on June 15 and 16 and was hosted by the Government of Peru. See the symposium announcement from the Institute of the Americas and the DOE press release.

DOE also announced on June 23 that Energy Secretary Chu has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with Minister Marcelo Tokman of the Chilean National Energy Commission to further collaboration between the two nations. The memorandum establishes an institutional framework between Chile and the United States, allowing DOE to provide its technical expertise in support of a new Renewable Energy Center in Chile. The new center will work to identify developments and best practices in renewable energy technologies from around the world, disseminating its findings within Chile and throughout the region. The two countries will also collaborate on other high-priority energy issues, including energy efficiency technologies and the establishment of two pilot solar power projects in northern Chile. See the DOE press release.