In June 2009, at the 5th Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad, US President Barack Obama invited Western Hemisphere countries to join the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, with the goal of making the transition to clean energies economies.
Yesterday, representatives from the Americas met in Washington for the first day of the Energy and Climate Ministerial of the Americas [PDF] with the intention of exploring “possible initiatives in energy efficiency, renewable energy, cleaner fossil fuels, energy infrastructure and energy poverty”.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced several new energy and climate initiatives, including
Advancing Sustainable Energy in the Caribbean: Department of State assistance to the Organization of American States will support a dialogue with Caribbean energy officials and institutions, donor governments, multilateral institutions, and the private sector to explore Caribbean indigenous resources and the potential role of electrical interconnections via sub-sea cables. To accelerate clean energy deployment, the initiative will also provide legal and technical advice to governments considering new renewable energy projects.
Also at the meeting, the President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced that the bank will increase financing for projects related to renewable energy and combating climate change.
[IDB President] Moreno said the IDB faces a surging demand for support from Latin American and Caribbean countries interested in developing their renewable energy resources and in combating the effects of climate change. IDB lending for energy-related projects is likely to reach $1.5 billion this year, up from $457million approved in 2008.
[T]he Bank will have the capacity to double its clean and sustainable energy lending again, to approximately $3 billion a year, by 2012. And I am pleased to announce today that this is our intention,” Moreno said.
The expanded lending will allow the IDB to focus on four broad areas: stepping up renewable energy investments in its poorest member countries; fostering energy integration throughout Latin America and the Caribbean; promoting energy efficiency measures across the region and helping governments establish climate change mitigation and adaptation frameworks.
As an example of the sort of projects the IDB intends to pursue, Moreno said the Bank would propose to the Haitian government the development of a new energy infrastructure to harness Haiti’s wind, solar and hydroelectric potential. Such an initiative could cost as much as $1 billion, but would help the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere save hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fossil fuel imports.
[Photo: Robert R Gigliotti]