U.S., Canada, Mexico to Cooperate On Developing Energy Technology

Energy ministers for Canada, Mexico and the United States announced that they will take concrete actions on energy science and technology, energy efficiency, deployment of clean energy technologies and other cooperative projects.

On July 23, the North American energy ministers met in Victoria, B.C., where the Honourable Gary Lunn, Canadian minister of Natural Resources, hosted his counterparts Georgina Kessel, secretary of Energy for Mexico, and U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman. Among the collaborative efforts they endorsed was the first-ever trilateral agreement on energy science and technology -- a framework designed to stimulate innovation and to share and help build capacity in all three countries. The ministers also reconfirmed their commitment to further aligning energy-efficiency standards on key consumer products, noting that recent collaborative efforts had resulted in the harmonization of energy performance standards for refrigerators, air conditioners and large electric motors.

"Whether it is developing cleaner and more efficient ways to produce and use conventional energy or advancing our knowledge of renewable energy, science and technology are fundamental to increasing energy security, sustaining economic prosperity and protecting our environment," Lunn said. "With greater North American cooperation, all three of our nations can increase the potential return on our investments in energy science and technology."

Kessel stated: "Our challenge in North America is to make the use of energy compatible with economic growth and the preservation of the environment. Basic and applied scientific research, which this agreement promotes, is a key factor in overcoming this challenge successfully."

Bodman stated, "Canada and Mexico are the top energy suppliers to the United States and serve as key partners as we work to advance the energy and economic security of our nations. This trilateral agreement renews our joint efforts to ensure sustainable energy development, increase energy efficiency and advance the use of clean energy technologies across North America and the world."

The ministers announced that discussions will continue to identify specific ways to increase cooperation on research and development and to reduce barriers to the deployment of new technologies in a wide variety of areas, including biofuels, gas hydrates, hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, clean coal and electricity transmission. To further these efforts Canada, the United States and Mexico will exchange scientific and technical personnel in order to participate in joint studies and projects.

The ministers emphasized the importance of seizing opportunities in energy efficiency. They committed to strengthening trilateral cooperation on motor vehicle fuel efficiency and "standby power" consumption, and identified seven additional energy-using products as potential candidates for harmonization. Regarding "standby power" -- the electricity consumed by common products such as televisions, computers and others when not in use -- the ministers agreed to support a trilateral workshop that will be held in Mexico City in September to explore possible joint approaches.

The ministers discussed the importance of continuing to increase the region's energy security, recognizing the critical contribution that an integrated energy market makes to the North American economy, representing approximately $150 billion (U.S. currency) in trade between the three countries. While recognizing and fully respecting the jurisdictional authorities of each country, they committed to working together to further enhance the effectiveness of the North American energy market.

Cooperation on energy issues also has been a key element of discussions among the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the United States since 2005. Last year in Cancun, the countries' leaders renewed their commitment to trilateral cooperation on energy conservation, clean energy technologies and bringing new energy technologies to the marketplace.

The outcomes of the meeting will demonstrate to leaders the effectiveness of cooperation by the energy ministers on energy security in advance of the North American Leaders' Summit to be held Aug. 20 and 21 in Montebello, Quebec. Energy will continue to be one of the important issues for the leaders at their meeting.

For more information on the trilateral agreement, visit http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/media/newsreleases/2007/200766a_e.htm.

This article originally appeared in the 07/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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