Can “onsite power” have an international component? Is there an advantage to be had by focusing not just on local energy efficiency, but also creating an international framework to promote a more intelligent and efficient use of resources?
This week, energy officials and representatives from 21 countries will meet in Washington DC to work on several international energy initiatives. During the two-day meeting, the participating countries—which combined account for 80% of the world’s gross domestic product—will be presenting their own suggestions while attempting to reach a consensus on how to cut carbon emissions while fostering economic growth in the developing world. On the table for debate will be a new climate treaty, standards for energy efficiency, wind, and solar energy development, a plan to cut GHG emissions and the promotion of clean energy and energy-efficient technologies.
For the US, the meeting presents an opportunity for the country to continue to promote a clean energy agenda with an emphasis on the potential for “green” technologies to spur economic growth and stability. In a statement, US Commerce Secretary Gary Lock said, “the development of clean energy and energy-efficient technologies could spur the greatest economic opportunity of the 21st century.”
“The race is wide open for which country will become the epicenter of innovation, and the destination for the capital, businesses and jobs that come with it,” he added.
So what do you think? Should energy efficiency be tied to issues like climate change and GHG emissions—or does combining those topics muddle the waters to such a point that concrete actions will be impossible to initiate? Does it make sense to tie economic development to clean technologies, or should developing nations first focus on the low-hanging fruit that will enable them to use their existing energy infrastructure more efficiently? And with plans currently underway to import energy to Europe from North Africa via miles of solar installations in the Sahara, is there anything about these “international” energy efficiency that strikes you as slightly exploitive?