U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson
April 13, 2012
Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas
Promoting clean energy, low-carbon development, and climate-resilient growth are among the U.S. government’s highest priorities. The Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) is a regional partnership to jointly address these common challenges with our neighbors.
Implementing President Obama’s Vision: At the 2009 Summit of the Americas, the President called on the region to come together under ECPA to address energy and climate goals, and at the President’s direction, ECPA has become a successful, flexible platform for partners to advance cooperation on renewable energy, energy efficiency, cleaner use of fossil fuels, energy poverty reduction, energy infrastructure, climate change adaptation, and sustainable forests and land use. The Department of State (DOS), the Department of Energy (DOE), and other U.S. government (USG) agencies lead U.S. participation.
Support for ECPA: The United States and other governments in the region have cooperated on 40 ongoing and completed ECPA initiatives. The U.S. government has contributed approximately $150 million to support collaborative ECPA projects, including:
• A National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)-U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) program to monitor environmental changes and improve responses to natural disasters in Central America. Also in Central America, USAID is strengthening the regulatory framework for clean and renewable energy while lowering energy costs.
• USAID programs in Peru and Colombia that focus on improving natural resource governance, reducing greenhouse gases, and improving access to energy in remote areas, while also seeking to eliminate illegal economies and address social inclusion concerns.
• A Peace Corps-DOS initiative that has helped more than 7,500 individuals in 11 countries to access cleaner energy, primarily through clean cookstoves, solar panels, and bio-digesters.
• A U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) initiative that connected 40 public and private-sector officials from 15 countries with 200 U.S. clean energy companies, supporting renewable energy projects resulting in over $18 million in U.S. clean energy exports.
• A USTDA program that enabled Chilean regulators to learn about U.S. smart grid regulations and technologies; subsequently, Chile’s legislature passed a law to advance the sale of electricity by consumers back to the grid. USTDA will expand this successful program and host delegations from Colombia and Mexico to familiarize them with U.S. smart grid regulations and technologies.
• DOS-supported Smart Grid electricity pilot projects that strengthened energy security and educated nearly 30,000 Costa Ricans about clean energy alternatives.
• The DOE-Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Low Carbon Communities of the Americas program is supporting Renewable and Energy Solutions Centers in Trinidad and Tobago, Chile, and Costa Rica, and Colombian efforts to develop biomass from agricultural residues through pyrolysis.
• A DOE-IDB Energy Innovation Center that serves as a regional incubator by providing financial support and technical assistance.
• Technical assistance grants announced by Secretary Clinton to accelerate renewable energy development in the Caribbean, including through the installation of solar energy panels at the headquarters of the Dominican Republic National Energy Commission.
• Financial assistance to the Organization of American States to support the ECPA Clearinghouse, a mechanism to facilitate and highlight ECPA cooperation between stakeholders.
The U.S. Government’s Continued Commitment to ECPA: The U.S. government is committed to promoting energy security and addressing the effects of climate change through this innovative platform that supports the region’s efforts to transition to low-emissions, green economies. The United States will continue to work with a variety of regional actors, including non-profit organizations, universities, the Organization of American States, and other partners in Latin America and the Caribbean to strengthen capacity and share best practices. The United States will also provide support for an important new ECPA initiative: Connecting the Americas 2022 (Connect 2022).
Connecting the Americas 2022: In recognition of significant progress made in the region to further electricity cooperation, the United States is pleased to join Connecting the Americas 2022, a new initiative developed by Colombia and with the support of other governments that seeks to achieve universal access to electricity in the Americas over the next decade through enhanced electrical interconnections and renewable energy development. This bold initiative reflects our shared belief that all people of the Americas should have access to sustainable energy to meet their basic needs, do their work, and educate their children. Interconnection can help meet the region’s electricity needs by improving the reliability of electric service, expanding power markets, and alleviating energy poverty. Enhanced electrical interconnection can also: (1) link new electricity producers and consumers; (2) create regional power-sharing partnerships to stabilize supply and demand imbalances; (3) supply new, renewable, and cleaner sources of power generation to larger markets; (4) attract private investment in energy infrastructure; and (5) create export potential for U.S. clean technology and power systems companies. The U.S. government continues to provide technical assistance and capacity-building programs through ECPA to advance electrical interconnection in the Western Hemisphere.