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U.S. and New Zealand Take Steps to Launch International Partnership to Further the Development of Clean Energy on Island Nations

July 24, 2008 - 2:14pm

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U.S. to Work with New Zealand to Encourage Utilization of Natural Renewable Energy Resources

NASSAU, BAHAMAS - The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Alexander "Andy" Karsner and New Zealand's Ambassador to the U.S. Roy Ferguson today signed terms of reference for the International Partnership for Energy Development in Island Nations (EDIN), an initiative to further the development of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies on island nations and territories. The initiative signals the commitment of the two countries to cooperate to enhance global energy security and address global climate change through the promotion of clean, renewable, sustainable energy technologies. The goal of EDIN is to achieve deployment of the maximum amount of renewable energy and energy efficiency possible for specific, measurable clean energy targets, such as providing 70 percent of primary energy from clean energy sources within one generation. EDIN partners will also work to facilitate the dissemination of clean energy technologies to less-developed island nations and territories.

"Islands are often hit hardest by price volatility and dependency on oil," Assistant Secretary Karsner said.  "This international collaboration will help island economies develop and deploy clean and efficient technologies that take advantage of abundant renewable resources, including wind, solar, geothermal, and ocean energy, while addressing the serious challenges of climate change and energy security."

The launch of EDIN will assist island nations to develop clean energy technologies, policies, and financing mechanisms. This Partnership will be primarily project-based, and will bring together policy leaders, technical experts, and financial leaders of island nations to develop guidance to advance clean energy development and deployment in specific regions and islands.

"New Zealand welcomes the opportunities that this Partnership presents. For New Zealand to reach our ambitious renewable energy targets we are clearly going to require new policies and technology to help the uptake of clean energy technology," said Ambassador Ferguson. "We look forward to working with the United States, and other future partners, to expand the sphere of knowledge around renewable energy research and development, government policy, and the commercial deployment of renewable energy technology."

When current EDIN participants, New Zealand and the United States of America, are joined by at least one additional partner, EDIN will begin work with island nations and territories on a project-by-project basis to develop smart policies and encourage the deployment of clean energy technologies where they are most needed. By invitation of EDIN's Steering Committee, other nations with inhabited islands and a demonstrated commitment to clean energy, as evidenced by their laws and policies, may join EDIN. It is anticipated that additional nations will be invited to join the partnership at the first EDIN Steering Committee meeting, which will take place in late August.

State of Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle also attended the EDIN launch and praised the partnership, highlighting the ongoing efforts of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, which was launched in January with the DOE to supply 70 percent of the Hawaii's energy needs through the use of clean energy by 2030, reducing Hawaii's dependence on crude oil and greenhouse gas emissions.

"Energy security and climate change are issues that transcend borders," said Governor Lingle.  "As an island state with abundant renewable energy sources, Hawaii is proud to support this partnership and work with the Department of Energy and other participant nations to increase our energy independence and expand our renewable energy expertise."

Representatives of the United States and New Zealand signed the EDIN terms of reference coincident with the Business Roundtable Caribbean Renewable Energy Conference hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Nassau. This event brings together the main stakeholders in energy and biomass energy derived from agricultural practices of the Caribbean to facilitate the expansion of sustainable energy development throughout the region.

Additional information is available from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Media contact(s):

Jennifer Scoggins, (202) 586-4940

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