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

December 14, 2009

United States to Help Deploy Clean Energy in Developing Countries

Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced on December 14 that the United States is contributing at least $85 million to an international initiative to promote clean energy technologies in developing countries. Speaking at the Copenhagen climate conference, Secretary Chu said that a new five-year, $350 million Renewables and Efficiency Deployment Initiative, or "Climate REDI," will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve public health in developing countries via three new clean energy technology programs: the Solar and LED Energy Access Program, designed to deliver affordable solar home systems and light-emitting diode (LED) lanterns to people without electricity, providing alternatives to polluting kerosene; the Clean Energy Information Platform, which will be an online platform for sharing clean energy information, such as resource maps, policies, and deployment hotspots; and the Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment Program, intended to improve the efficiency of appliances traded throughout the world by coordinating the incentives, standards, and labeling systems among the countries participating in the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF). The MEF consists of 17 major developed and developing countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Climate REDI also includes the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program (SREP), a program of the Climate Investment Funds, which are a collaborative effort of donor countries and multilateral development banks, including the World Bank. SREP will provide policy support and technical assistance to low-income countries that are creating national renewable energy strategies, and it will underwrite the capital costs of renewable energy investments. The United States will contribute $50 million to SREP—building on about $210 million pledged by other countries—to help launch the fund in 2010. Overall, Climate REDI is a "quick-start" initiative to complement the much broader technology and finance mechanisms of an international climate agreement. It will coordinate closely with other programs that promote clean energy technologies in developing countries. See the DOE press release, Secretary Chu's presentation (PDF 68 KB), the World Bank press release, and the SREP page on the Climate Investment Funds Web site. Download Adobe Reader.

Secretary Chu also announced that the MEF countries have released ten Technology Action Plans under a global partnership agreement established in July to develop and deploy clean energy technologies. The plans summarize the mitigation potential of the technologies, highlight policies that represent best practices, and provide a menu of specific actions that countries can take individually and collectively to accelerate the development and deployment of the technologies. Eight of the ten Technology Action Plans address energy efficiency and renewable energy, including advanced vehicles, bioenergy, building energy efficiency, industrial energy efficiency, marine energy, solar energy, wind energy, and Smart Grid technologies. In addition, two of the action plans address fossil fuels, including carbon capture, use, and storage and high-efficiency, low-emissions, coal-fired power. An extra report addresses global gaps in clean energy research, development, and demonstration activities. As a way to drive all this work forward, Secretary Chu revealed that he would host the first Clean Energy Ministerial for MEF and other countries in Washington, D.C., in 2010. See the Technology Action Plans on the MEF Web site.