Washington International Renewable Energy Conference 2008
WIREC 2008 Ministerial Meeting
Washington, DC | 4-6 March 2008
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Renewable Energy Pledges Featured as WIREC Ends

On Thursday, 6 March, participants heard presentations of findings from Wednesday's focal theme discussions and from the regional consultations that the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) conducted for WIREC 2008. They also heard about the pledges that the US, New Zealand, Denmark, and other governments and entities offered as part of the Washington International Action Program, a compilation of pledges from WIREC 2008 participants announcing domestic and international pledges to accelerate the global uptake of renewable energy. Paula Dobriansky, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, US Department of State, closed the meeting at 12:40 pm.

Thursday, 6 March
Plenary: Findings from Theme Discussions

Co-Moderator Allan Johnson, Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Rural Development, US Department of Agriculture, welcomed participants and thanked organizers for their efforts.

Co-Moderator Reno Harnish, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, US Department of State, introduced the rapporteurs who summarized each thematic area.

Thomas Dorr, Chairman, Secretary's Energy Council, Under Secretary for Rural Development, USDA, drew together ideas from the sessions on Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development, and State and Local Authorities.

Gregory Manuel, Special Advisor to the Secretary of State and International Energy Coordinator, US Department of State, summarized the results of discussions on market adoption and finance.

Mildred Dresselhaus, Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) reviewed the Plenary and four sessions dealing with research and development.

Buyelwa Sonjica, Minister, Ministry of Minerals and Energy, South Africa, presented the findings of several consultations that REEEP organized in preparation for WIREC 2008.
Pledges and Commitments

Paula Dobriansky, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, US Department of State, opened the session, stating that over 100 pledges had been made by more than 40 nations.

Alexander "Andy" Karsner, Assistant Secretary, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, US Department of Energy, described the pledge process and gave an overview of the pledges made by the US.

Harry Duynhoven, Associate Minister of Energy, New Zealand, pledged 90% renewable electricity by 2025, achieved through a carbon trading scheme and a 10-year restriction on new base-load fossil fuel generation plants.

Denmark pledged to increase renewable energy share to at least 30% by 2025, despite having no potential for hydropower development.

Australia pledged 20% renewable energy by 2020, as part of a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Brazil pledged to maintain its share of renewable energy, which is about 45%, and promote diversification among renewable energy sources.

Canada, as part of its "Use Less, Live Better approach," described several new initiatives, with funding for biofuels, renewables and efficiency.

José Brito, Minister of Economy, Growth and Competitiveness, Cape Verde, pledged to achieve 50% renewable generation by 2020, and 100% on one of its nine habitable islands.

Norway pledged an increase in development aid to 1% of its gross national income, with a priority for environment and energy spending.

Germany shared its goal of having 18% of its consumption come from renewable energy by 2020, while phasing out nuclear power.

Ismail Khan, Minister of Energy and Water, Afghanistan, pledged to offer electricity to 60% of its rural population by 2018, and to improve air quality 10-12% by 2012.

Jordan announced that it would remove taxes on all renewable energy and energy conservation equipment, in response to US President Bush's call for free renewable energy trade.
Left: Michael Eckhart, President, ACORE, said that over 8100 delegates had attended WIREC 2008, and over 240 organizations had exhibited their products or activities in the trade show.

Right: V. Subramanian, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, India, said India has offered to host the next International Renewable Energy Conference, with the dates and venue to be decided, but most likely in early 2010.

Participants in the ministerial meeting gathered for lunch afterward, and heard addresses by Maud Olofsson, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Enerprise and Energy, Sweden (shown above) and Graeme Wheeler, Managing Director, Operations, The World Bank Group.

The WIREC 2008 Ministerial Bulletin IISD-RS reporting team (L-R): Douglas Bushey, Writer; Twig Johnson, Writer; Nancy Williams, Logistics Coordinator; Dan Birchall, Digital Editor; Lynn Wagner, Team Leader; Miquel Muñoz, Writer.

Related Links

WIREC 2008 Conference Site
WIREC 2008 Agenda
REN21 Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century

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