Clean Energy Ministerial: 24 Nations Endorse 11 New Worldwide Initiatives

Clean Energy Ministerial: 24 Nations Endorse 11 New Worldwide Initiatives

The first-ever Clean Energy Ministerial brought together ministers and stakeholders from 24 nations in Washington, D.C., last week to collaborate on policies and programs that accelerate the world's transition to clean energy technologies. Participants included executives from top global companies – including Charlie Gay of Applied Materials.

Charlie, who is president of Applied's solar business, was a panelist at an event that occurred on the first day of the two-day Ministerial, hosted by U.S. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu. Other invited executives represented General Electric, Wal-Mart, DuPont and other major companies.

The Ministerial's focus was spot-on, with technology, policy and finance – the key drivers in the move to a low-carbon economy – front and center. Which makes last week’s ditching of serious energy legislation in the Senate all that much more disappointing -- the world is quickly up shifting and moving ahead while the United States is struggling to get into first gear.

Speakers and panelists at the ministerial included Jim Rogers, chairman, president and CEO of Duke Energy and a member of Applied's Board of Directors.

Afterward on Tuesday, the ministers as a group announced 11 energy-efficiency and renewable energy initiatives around the world, including initiatives to promote solar energy, LED lighting and electric vehicles. If carried out fully, these initiatives will void the need to build 500 midsize power plants during the next 20 years.

The 24 countries participating in this week's Clean Energy Ministerial account for 70 percent of global emissions, 80 percent of gross domestic product, 4 billion people and $50 trillion in GDP. They will commit hundreds of millions of dollars toward the energy-efficiency projects.

Among the initiatives:

The International Smart Grid Action Network. The U.S. and 15 other governments will share best practices and work jointly on projects that will enable electricity grids to better integrate intermittent sources of renewable energy and support plug-in electric vehicles and other emerging technologies. The governments will address smart-grid finance, policy, technology research and worker training.

The Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group. Led by Germany and Denmark, it will create a global atlas of wind and solar capacity and help train workers to build, install, operate and maintain equipment. The global atlas will combine existing databases of solar and wind energy potential.

The Solar and LED Energy Access Program. It will support deployment of solar and light-emitting diode lanterns in developing countries. The program is expected to improve lighting services for 10 million people within five years.

Clean Energy Education and Empowerment. Led by the U.S. and seven other nations, it will encourage women to pursue careers in clean energy.

The Electric Vehicles Initiative. Led by the U.S. and nine other countries, it will help governments meet electric-vehicle deployment targets through sister-city partnerships and sharing best practices. Participants agreed to launch pilot projects in coordination with universities and companies.

Attending the ministerial were delegations from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the U.S. Next year's ministerial will be held in the United Arab Emirates and the UK will host the gathering in 2012.

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