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Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 25, 2008

Washington International Renewable Energy Conference: March 4-6, 2008

Renewable energy technologies play an important role in the U.S. Government’s strategy to respond to the challenges of climate change, energy security and local air pollution. Now, more than ever, nations fully recognize the imperative to promote wide spread adoption of renewable energy such as biomass, biofuels, wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro energies into their country’s energy sources to promote sustained economic growth, social development and environmental stewardship.

The Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC) 2008 comprises multiple events: a global ministerial-level meeting, a trade show and a business conference; and official side events. WIREC 2008’s three components are inter-related: The Ministerial-level meetings will ensure time for participants to tour the separately-managed, but co-located, trade show/expo and business conference and for networking. Registered trade show and/or Ministerial Level meeting participants will be able to reserve rooms at special rates and attend WIREC’s Official Side Events.

Hosted by the United States Government, and in cooperation with the American Council on Renewable Energy, WIREC 2008 is the third global ministerial-level conference on renewable energy, following events in Beijing in 2005 and Bonn in 2004. WIREC 2008 will bring together government, civil society and private business leaders to address the benefits and costs of a major and rapid scale-up in the global deployment of renewable energy technology. WIREC 2008 will also provide policy makers from all levels of government a robust menu of policy options and practical measures that have been proven successful in accelerating the diffusion of renewable energy technologies.

About WIREC 2008

WIREC 2008 will provide a forum to discuss the linkages between energy and climate change and provide a menu of technological options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions through expanded use of renewable energy. This administration has emphasized the need to get promising clean energy technologies off the laboratory shelves and into the market place. WIREC 2008 will demonstrate how the U.S. is accomplishing this, as well as the successes of industry, other governments and civil society from around the world. WIREC 2008 will play a major role in advancing on-the-ground implementation of renewables through the exchange of best practices and dissemination of a wide range of policy and financing options.

One of the concrete outcomes of WIREC 2008 will be the Washington International Action Plan (WIAP). The WIAP is intended to showcase policy efforts and initiatives that will encourage widespread adoption of renewable energy. While the Bonn conference took place during the 'start-up phase' of renewables, WIREC 2008 heralds a maturing phase in which scaling-up of renewable energy deployment is the challenge. Voluntary pledges made as a part of the WIAP should reflect this progress.

Pledges may take many forms including: specific financial or programmatic commitments, the development of a suite of policy instruments that will advance the adoption and use of renewable energy resources and technologies, the launch of programs that will increase the deployment of renewable energy or a combination of any of these options. Pledges, which are being solicited from federal governments, subnational governments, the private sector, and civil society actors will be collected and included in the Washington International Action Program as a central outcome of WIREC 2008.

Background Information

In 2004, Germany hosted the first International Conference for Renewable Energies in Bonn. More than 3,600 participants focused on three central themes: the formation of political framework conditions to allow market development of renewable energies, increasing public and private financing in order to secure reliable demand for renewable energies, and human and institutional capacity building (including the coordination of research and development). Participants generated 197 concrete actions and commitments by governments and other actors

In 2005, a second conference held in Beijing capitalized on the success of the previous year. This conference had a broad focus on policies, strategies, and financing mechanisms, as well as individual forums on investment and finance, industrialists and entrepreneurs, technology, and north-south cooperation. At the close of the conference, government representatives from 78 countries signed a declaration affirming their commitment to renewable energy and discussing the challenges the industry faces.

Since the close of the Beijing conference, worldwide enthusiasm for renewable energy has increased dramatically, and production has soared. According to a recent study by the United Nations Environment Program, investments in renewable energy reached a record $70.9 billion in 2006, a 43 percent increase over 2005. A similar growth trajectory is expected this year. The global community fully recognizes the imperative to promote widespread adoption of renewable energies such as biomass, biofuels, wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower.

WIREC 2008 will build upon the outcomes of the conferences in Bonn and Beijing to foster increased political support and public awareness for renewable energy, new and innovative actions to promote widespread adoption of renewable energy, and advanced tools for collecting and disseminating best practices to end users. WIREC 2008 will serve as a showcase and launching pad for concrete initiatives undertaken by the public and private sectors to promote widespread adoption of cost effective renewable energy technologies. Building on the hundreds of practical initiatives in the Bonn International Action Plan and UN’s database of Partnerships for Sustainable Development, WIREC 2008 will continue the dialogue about practical, on-the-ground action.

For additional information and registration about WIREC 2008 please see: www.wirec2008.gov


Released on February 25, 2008

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