Progress on existing programs and new initiatives.
At the third Central American Renewable Energy Forum (CAREF) in New York City, New York, the U.S. Government announced progress on existing programs and new initiatives between the United States, Brazil, and Colombia, with Central American governments, in collaboration with the Organization of American States, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and World Bank, as part of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) and U.S.-Brazil Biofuels Cooperation. For more information about ECPA, please visit www.ecpamericas.org and www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/ecpa_factsheet.pdf.
- Advancing Power Sector Integration: The U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are providing nearly $7 million in ongoing and planned new funding to facilitate clean energy uptake and support the SIEPAC initiative in Central America. Ongoing work includes a grant to the Institute of the Americas on the Central American Electrical Interconnection System (SIEPAC from its acronym in Spanish) and a grant to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners to strengthen the capacity of energy regulatory bodies and regional associations such as the Regional Association of Central American Energy Regulators.
- Accelerating Private Finance in Renewable Energy: The Department of State and USAID announced a new partnership with the Private Finance Advisory Network (PFAN) to accelerate private finance in renewable energy projects in Central America. For more information about PFAN, please visit http://www.cti-pfan.net/.
- Increasing Access to Renewable Energy: The Department of State noted ongoing assistance that some Central American countries receive under ECPA from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on bioenergy and U.S. Peace Corps to promote clean cookstoves and small-scale renewable energy technologies in rural communities.
- Promoting Energy Efficiency: In support of ECPA, the U.S. Department of Energy is supporting Costa Rica’s development of a regional energy efficiency center with technical assistance from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The Energy Efficiency Centers’s partners have developed a business plan to help Costa Rica and the region reduce growth rates in energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions by increasing efficiency in energy supply and consumption. NREL experts will conduct the EEC’s first “train the trainers” energy auditing course on July 18-22, 2011.
- The Government of Colombia offered its continued support to provide technical assistance to Central America to promote SIEPAC.
- The Government of Brazil reaffirmed its intention to host an ECPA ministerial meeting in the future where leaders will discuss progress made across the hemisphere in promoting energy and climate change cooperation. The United States and Brazil also reaffirmed their commitment to advance biofuels in Central America, noting the June 1, 2011 U.S.-Brazil Biofuels Steering Group meeting, where both governments discussed priorities, including deploying an additional $3 million in U.S. technical assistance to partner countries, including in Central America. The United States, Brazil, and SICA also discussed the possibility of Central American participation in the Global Bioenergy Partnership, which offers the potential for collaboration on standards and sustainability.
- The Inter-American Development Bank has been a major supporter of the Central America Power Sector Integration process providing financing for the construction of the SIEPAC transmission system, the interconnection between Guatemala and Mexico, as well as resources to develop the institutions and regulation required for the creation and implementation of the Electricity Regional Market. The IDB has reaffirmed its commitment with the integration process.
- The World Bank offered its continued policy, regulatory, and technical support for the Central American power sector integration effort, and presented a report to the ministers entitled “Regional Power Integration: Structural and Regulatory Challenges.”
Source: U.S. Department of State