New ideas for an Energy Partnership in the Americas

At the Fifth Summit of the Americas, held in Trinidad and Tobago April 17-19, 2009, US President Barack Obama invited participating countries to advance the region’s energy security and combat climate change by joining the United States in a voluntary and flexible framework for a new hemispheric energy and climate partnership. US Energy Secretary Steven Chu was charged with advancing the proposal with his counterparts at a symposium to take place on June 15-16 in Lima.

This is the meeting I am going to be covering for the next few days. The agenda can be found at the Institute of the Americas website. As you will see by the level of participants, the region is taking the US proposal in stride. Still, although the idea still needs to be defined, the government represented in the first panel – Peru, US, Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil – almost without fail came with some concrete ideas.

Peru’s Minister of Energy talked about the creation of an Institute dedicated to the study of energy efficiency; Mexico proposed a Green Fund which would finance initiatives such as the new Mexican program of small appliances exchange; the US suggested a new Low Carbon Communities of the Americas; and Brazil a new effort to support Sustainable Low Income Urban Development – using experiences from Curitiba, Chile, Colombian, and New Orleans.

The stage is being set. Some of the ideas are, indeed, ingenious. The challenge will be to take them out of the world of ideas and make them real.


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