Brasília, August 5, 2008
BRASILIA, BRAZIL -- Brazilian Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobão and United States Acting Deputy Secretary of Energy Jeffrey Kupfer met today for the first time in recognition of the important role each nation plays in promoting safe, reliable, clean, affordable, and diverse energy supplies and reaffirming the strong relationship between both countries. Together they agreed that both nations are committed to increasing energy security and will focus on key areas of mutual interest, including oil and gas, biofuels, energy efficiency, coal, nuclear energy, electricity, energy regulatory issues, and climate change. In addition, the authorities discussed the development of cutting-edge technologies to increase energy efficiency.
The energy authorities also agreed to:
- Share progress on efforts to develop second-generation biofuels;
- Promote energy efficiency initiatives at the international level;
- Support efforts to attract greater energy sector investment;
- Ensure that leading-edge management, technology and capital are directed towards the development of new energy projects; and
- Increase bilateral cooperation in clean coal technology, with special attention on exchanging information in the following areas: (i) coal-related energy issues and policies, programs and technologies with special emphasis on coal utilization for power generation and clean fuels production including coal gasification; (ii) efficient and environmentally responsible use of coal; (iii) development of combustion technologies for high ash coals; (iv) development of Coal and Biomass to liquids; (v) studies in coal mine safety, coal mine methane, coal ash utilization, underground coal gasification and coal to liquids, mine ground control, underground coal mining technologies, backfilling, acid mining drainage and coal beneficiation; (vi) Coal GHG mitigation technologies, including CO2 capture and storage; (vii) capacity building for the above technologies.
This meeting in Brazil comes during a period of renewed intensity in energy relations between Brazil and the United States. Presidents Bush and Lula made complementary visits in March of last year, and energy was a key theme during both visits. Recent joint efforts include the signing in 2007, between DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and the Brazilian Coal Association (BCA) of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), under which clean coal is a potential area for collaboration. Also, in March 2008, NETL sent two scientists to deliver a 4-day course on coal gasification and coal gas cleaning to 45 professionals at an event sponsored by the Coal Producer's Association of Santa Catarina. Both Minister Lobão and Acting Deputy Secretary Kupfer underlined the need for advancement in areas of clean coal energy not yet covered by the existing bilateral agreements.
Further, on March 9, 2007, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim signed an MOU to Advance Cooperation on Biofuels. This agreement established the U.S.-Brazil Steering Group and Advisory Board which met twice, in Brasília and Washington, DC, and are scheduled to meet again on August 20, 2008. Under this Agreement, in September 2007, DOE hosted a visit of a delegation of Brazilian scientists at its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, as well as other scientific centers in the area of biofuels. A reciprocal visit by U.S. scientists to Brazil occurred in May 2008, with an emphasis on second generation biofuels technology research and development and biofuels infrastructure. Brazil and the US have undertaken biofuel feasibility studies in the Dominican Republic, St. Kitts and Nevis, Haiti, and El Salvador. The Brazilian and U.S. governments are discussing expanding cooperation to a second tranche of target countries.
Alongside with India, South Africa, China and the European Commission, both Brazil and the United States have also been actively engaged in the activities undertaken by the International Biofuels Forum (IBF), launched in March 2008 with the goal to foster the creation of a global biofuels market and in which context was developed the White Paper on Internationally Compatible Biofuels Standards.
The U.S. Acting Deputy Secretary of Energy welcomed the upcoming International Biofuels Conference, which will be hosted by the Brazilian Government in São Paulo on November 17-21, 2008. The Conference shall be a great opportunity to promote an informed discussion on the opportunities and challenges of biofuels for sustainable development, with a special focus on developing countries.
The United States and Brazil were two of the founding members of the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum established in June 2003 to facilitate the development of technologies for carbon dioxide separation, capture, transport and storage in underground geologic formations as well as partners in support of International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy (IPHE) which included the development of a Hydrogen Roadmap for Brazil.
The two countries are committed to cooperation in bilateral and multilateral fora to achieve common goals for global energy stability and social, economic and environmental sustainability.
Bethany Shively, (202) 586-4940