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December 15, 2009
US Secretary of Energy Announces Plan for Clean Energy Deployment in Developing Countries
    by Robert Kropp

While progress toward even a non-binding agreement in Copenhagen stalls, the US Secretary of Energy announces program to help fund energy efficiency measures in developing countries.

As the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) entered its second and final week in Copenhagen, not unexpected fissures between developed and developing economies were exposed.

Reports indicate that the US and China are at an impasse over verification of emissions reduction targets, and developing nations in the Group of 77 (G-77) staged a walkout on Monday, claiming that the talks are “advancing the interests of the developed countries at the expense of the balance of obligations between developed and developing countries,” according to Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping of Sudan.

But even as the talks seemed to stall, US Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced a new initiative designed to promote clean energy technologies in developing countries. In a Fact Sheet released on Monday, Chu announced the launch of a new Renewables and Efficiency Deployment Initiative (Climate REDI), which, according to the fact sheet, will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, fight energy poverty, and improve public health, by deploying renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies in developing countries.

Chu’s announcement was accompanied by the release of ten Technology Action Plans by the 17 major economies participating in the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF). The US contributed two of the plans, on energy efficiency in buildings and industrial energy efficiency.

A goal of MEF is to provide government support for innovation to reduce private investor uncertainty, information-sharing to overcome market barriers, and deployment to encourage private investment.

The Climate REDI program will provide affordable solar home systems and LED lanterns to those without access to electricity, and improve the efficiency of appliances. It will establish an online platform in which technical resources for the deployment of clean energy technologies will be exchanged, and provide policy support and technical assistance to low-income countries.

The combined budget for the programs under Climate REDI will be $350 million over five years. A total of $85 million will be contributed by the US.


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