Washington International Renewable Energy Conference 2008
WIREC 2008 Ministerial Meeting
Washington, DC | 4-6 March 2008
 
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WIREC 2008 Opens in Washington

The Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC 2008) opened on 4 March 2008, at the Washington DC Convention Center in Washington DC, US, and will continue until 6 March. Approximately 3000 participants have registered for the Ministerial Meeting, from which this Bulletin is reporting. Over 4000 individuals have registered to participate in parallel events, including a business conference, trade show exhibition and side-events.

Following opening statements Tuesday morning, participants discussed the economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy in separate ministerial and stakeholder sessions during the afternoon, and closed the day with a joint session. At the end of Tuesday, over 60 pledges had been submitted for the Washington International Action Program, a compilation of pledges from WIREC participants announcing domestic and international pledges to accelerate the global uptake of renewable energy.

Above: Participants listened to a presentation by REN21 Chairman Mohamed El-Ashry, in plenary.


Tuesday, 4 March
Opening Session and Statements

Reno Harnish III, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, introduced the opening speakers.

Paula Dobriansky, US Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, welcomed participants and emphasized the importance of stimulating renewable energy development.

Michael Eckhart, American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), said the priority now is increasing the speed and scale of renewable energy adoption to achieve its potential.

Thomas Dorr, Under Secretary for Rural Development, US Department of Agriculture, said many new technologies, in such areas as genomics, offer great promise.

John Negroponte, Deputy Secretary of State, US Department of State, underscored the challenges of energy supply, environment and economic growth.

Ed Schafer, Secretary, US Department of Agriculture, underscored agriculture as a main contributor to renewable energy.

Parliamentary State Secretary Michael Müller, German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, proposed an "ecological Bretton Woods" to address the challenges of the upcoming century.
 
Zhang Xiaoqiang, Vice Chairman, National Development and Reform Commission of China, described key elements of China's strategic plan for renewable energy, announced in 2007.
Ministerial Plenary Session: Defining the Issues

Hermann Scheer, Germany, General Chairman of the World Council for Renewable Energy, stated that renewable energy is not a last resort, but an opportunity.

Samuel Bodman, Secretary, US Department of Energy, said the American public is calling for action, and stressed domestic concern about energy prices and volatility.

Tony Hayward, CEO, BP, noted that the US, as the largest energy consumer, is key to any effort to address energy security and climate change.

Mohamed El-Ashry, Chairman, Renewable Energy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), announced the release of the REN21 Global Status Report.

Nobuo Tanaka, Executive Director, International Energy Agency, said energy security and climate change must be addressed together.

Vinod Khosla, CEO Khosla Ventures, attributed the failure of econometric energy forecasts to the fact that they fail to account for future innovation and technology.
Ministerial Session: Economic and Environmental Benefits of Renewable Energy
The closed interactive ministerial session was facilitated by Claudia McMurray, US Assistant Secretary of State, Oceans, Environment and Science. Steve Johnson, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Andris Piebalgs, Energy Commissioner, European Union (EU), delivered opening statements, following which other ministers and government representatives addressed the session.
Stakeholder Session: Economic and Environmental Benefits of Renewable Energy

The afternoon stakeholder session was chaired by David Hales, President, College of the Atlantic. The session was open to all conference participants and took place in two parts, focusing on barriers and solutions to renewable energy scale-up. In each part, seven invited panelists briefly shared their views, and audience stakeholders were invited to share theirs.
Around WIREC

Participants filled numerous official side events, such as this one on Defining Sustainable Hydropower, hosted by the International Hydropower Association, National Hydropower Association, Canadian Hydropower Association, WWF International and The Nature Conservancy.

Related Links

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

Related IISDRS Coverage

renewables2004, Bonn, Germany, 1-4 June 2004

Linkages Update - International environment and sustainable development news
MEA Bulletin - Newsletter on activities of key multilateral environmental agreements and their secretariats
African Regional Coverage
Linkages Africa - Newsletter on sustainable development events in Africa

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