U.S. announces ‘Climate REDI’ initiative to transfer clean tech to developing world

Energy Secretary Steven Chu speaks as Treasury...

Energy Secretary Steven Chu in a file photo. Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

COPENHAGEN–U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced a $350 million initiative here today, dubbed “Climate REDI,” to transfer clean-energy technologies to developing nations.

Italian Environment Minister Stefania Prestigiacomo and Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh attended Chu’s event at the U.S. Center to announce their participation as a technology contributor and recipient, respectively. Australia announced it will contribute $5 million to the program’s funding.

The initiative will focus on solar lantern and light-emitting diode (LED) technology, super-efficient equipment and appliances, sharing information, and scaling up renewable energy sources such as solar and wind systems.

New Emissions Projection

Chu also confirmed that the Energy Information Agency will release figures soon projecting that U.S. carbon emissions have increased slightly in spite of the recession and will continue to increase through 2050 without political intervention.

“It is an increase and it continues to increase,” he said. “What I see is a clarion call.”

Climate REDI

The U.S. will supply $85 million of the $350 million Climate Renewables and Efficiency Deployment Initiative over the next five years, Secretary Chu said. The program is designed to:

–develop affordable, efficient solar-powered LED lamps to replace energy-intensive hurricane lamps currently in use in parts of the world that do not receive electricity. “We want to turn on the lights, turn on the lights where people live, but in a way that does not contribute to climate change,” Chu said. “We need to make sure the lights we put on the market adhere to certain standards.”

–transfer the efficiency gains acheived in U.S. appliance manufacturing to the rest of the world. The energy saved in the U.S. by efficiency gains in refrigerators alone is greater than all the energy produced from renewable sources, Chu said. “And that was driven by standards. It didn’t happen by itself.” Transferred to the rest of the world, that technology could prevent 1.1 gigatons of carbon-dioxide emissions over 5 years.

–share clean-energy information, such as resource maps of productive sites for wind turbines.

–provide investment and technical assistance to the developed world in support of solar, wind, bioenergy, geothermal and small-hydro projects.

DOE later released more details:

Climate REDI is a “quick-start” initiative to complement the much broader technology and finance mechanisms of an international climate agreement. It will promote dissemination of clean energy technologies through the following tools:

–Quality assurance to guard developing country consumers against sub-standard renewable energy products;

–Minimum efficiency standards to remove the lowest efficiency appliances from the market;

–Labeling to guide consumers to quality-assured and high-efficiency products;

–Financing for scale up of early-stage low-carbon products, to bring down costs and remove barriers to deployment and to catalyze investment by the private sector;

–Information sharing that enables all energy stakeholders to access state-of-the art information on technology and best practices.

via Department of Energy – Fact Sheet: Clean Energy Technology Announcements.

Ramesh said India would participate as a recipient but hopes to become a technology donor. “We believe technology holds the key,” he said.

Obama Administration Science Advisor John Holdren and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenko also attended the star-studded event.

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