“Climate REDI” (renewable energy development initiative) is a new program that was annoced today at a presentation by the US Department of Energy. The main speaker was US secretary of Energy, Steven Chu. Prior to his presentation, the partner countries in this new intitive, ministers from India and Italy, as well as a representative from Australia said a few words on the initiative and the partnerships.
It was obvious that the point of Chu’s presentation is to show that the United States is serious about changing out direction or energy use, but as one question from the public pointed out, it does not seem that the US targets on reducing our energy consumption are very ambitious. While this may be true, the initiative does include expensive and expansive programs to address current and future developments in clean and renewable resource development.
The emphasis for new technologies within the US and in developing countries that Chu presented were efficient batteries, wind turbines, solar power, LED lighting, smart grids, and energy efficient appliances.
While I didn’t hear much of the programs goals in other countries from Chu, the representative from Australia did say that a priority of Climate REDI is fast-tracking renewable resource technologies in developing countries. Chu touched on the battery and LED power for lighting in developing nations, but nothing else specifically.
So what is the $80 billion down payment in the recovery act for a clean energy economy and the $85 million over the next 5 years for the Climate REDI initiative going? He talked a few minutes on wind power, saying that the US has invested in blade testing in order to create the next generation of compact wind turbines. Also, the funds to revolutionize the way buildings are designed and retrofitted, using an example of creating embedded tools in architecture design programs that would show energy efficiency to buildings architectures and designers. They are also working on applications for smart phones in which consumers would be able to visually see their energy usage and help them make energy efficient changes.
In the question and answer part, Chu was asked about the connection between the program and transportation and how this will be designed with smart grids. Chu said the government has been and will continue to push to increase fuel efficiency standards, develop batteries, and other renewable resources to reduce CO2 emissions, and also work on using biofuels.
He concluded the presentation by stating that there needs to be a shift in thinking by Americans, leaving fossil fuel consumption, and going to a “hi-tech sustainable energy” economy.
I looked for the specific point of the program on both the Energy Department’s website, and their specific site for COP15, but there was no information obviously posted, so I might come back later and let you know what the specific of the program are.
found the department of energy’s press release.
Secretary Chu today announced the launch of a new Renewables and Efficiency Deployment Initiative (Climate REDI). The program will accelerate deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies in developing countries – reducing greenhouse gas emissions, fighting energy poverty and improving public health for the most vulnerable, particularly women and children.
Climate REDI includes three new clean energy technology programs and funding needed to launch a renewable energy program under the World Bank’s Strategic Climate Fund…
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…
The combined budget for these programs is $350 million over five years. Funding for the first three programs above will total $100 million — $35 million that the United States intends to contribute, with the balance from Italy, Australia and other partners. Funding for the Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Program will total $250 million – $50 million that the United States intends to contribute and $200 million that the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland pledged previously…
As climate negotiators were meeting in Bonn to advance work on a global treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Australian Senate rejected legislation that would establish a European-style cap and trade system in the country.
Although Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Labor party controls the lower House of Representatives, they do not control the Senate. As such, a coalition of right and left parties rejected the legislation. Rudd and his climate minister, Penny Wong, said that they would re-introduce the legislation later in the year. Another rejection would trigger national elections.
Rudd’s legislation is relatively modest (although it could be considered ambitious in the context of the Liberal party’s intransigence): 5% reduction from 2000 levels by 2020 and the institution of a carbon tax in 2011.
The opposition Liberals want to delay the passage of a bill until after the UN negotiations in Copenhagen. They argue that since the US hasn’t passed a bill and that Copenhagen is a place where negotiations occur, it is better for Australia to not lay all of its cards on the table.
The problem with this stance is that if large emitters like the US and Australia keep on delaying, the potential problems associated with climate change get worse and the costs for adaptation and future mitigation soar.
With the US bill currently stalled and the weak targets announced by New Zealand earlier this week, the Australian inaction could add to the frustrations of developing an adequate international agreement.
Photo of Kevin Rudd: London Summit