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

April 21, 2010

DOE to Help Develop Clean Energy in Latin America and the Caribbean

DOE announced on April 15 a series of new partnerships and other initiatives to advance clean energy and energy security in the Western Hemisphere as part of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA). The new clean energy projects include launching an Energy Innovation Center for Latin America and the Caribbean, exploring the potential of a Caribbean-wide electrical transmission system, developing biomass resources in Columbia, and cooperating with Argentina on clean energy technologies. DOE will also host an earthquake preparedness workshop for the region's leaders.

DOE and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the largest source of development funding for Latin America and the Caribbean, signed an agreement creating an Energy Innovation Center, the latest in a series of Regional Clean Energy Centers located throughout the hemisphere. Staffed by some of the world's leading experts in renewable energy and energy efficiency, including both DOE and IDB employees, the new center will serve as a focal point for clean energy project development and financing in the region. It will be able to access the IDB's financing pipeline for renewable energy and climate-related projects, which the IDB intends to increase to $3 billion per year by 2012. Among the proposed projects is the development of a new energy infrastructure in Haiti to help the country harness its wind, solar, and hydroelectric power potential. See the IDB press release.

DOE will also provide technical assistance to the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Working Group, starting with a workshop to explore the potential for a Caribbean-wide transmission system that will help tap the region's renewable energy resources. And under DOE's Low Carbon Communities of the Americas initiative, DOE and experts from its national laboratories will partner with scientists and technology experts in Columbia to develop a plan to produce heat and power from sugarcane and palm residues. In addition, DOE signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Argentina to promote cooperation on clean energy technologies.

ECPA was launched in 2009 during the Fifth Summit of the Americas, when President Obama and Western Hemisphere leaders committed to expand energy and climate cooperation in the hemisphere as part of a joint effort to ensure economic growth and prosperity. The ECPA is focused on developing clean energy resources, increasing energy security, and reducing energy poverty. The latest round of activity occurred as energy ministers and delegations from 32 countries gathered at the IDB in Washington, D.C., for the Energy and Climate Ministerial of the Americas, which was held on April 15 and 16. Energy officials joined with more than 200 businesses and non-governmental organizations to advance initiatives under the ECPA that will help countries across the hemisphere develop and deploy clean energy technologies and achieve economic growth without significantly increasing their carbon emissions. See the DOE press release.