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CMAO at the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC 2008)

The Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC 2008) convened from 4-6 March 2008, at the Washington, DC Convention Center in the US. WIREC 2008 consisted of a Ministerial Meeting, a business conference, a trade show exhibition and side events. More than 3000 participants from 118 countries registered for the Ministerial Meeting, including approximately 100 ministerial representatives. Over 4000 individuals registered to participate in the business conference, trade show and side events.


George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, addressed the WIREC 2008 Ministerial Meeting on Wednesday morning, 5 March. Participants also attended over 25 plenary and workshop sessions to discuss four themes: market adoption and finance; agriculture, forestry and rural development; state and local authorities; and research and development (R&D).



Renewable Energy Policy and Financing Initiatives: Lessons Learned and Emerging Strategies: Panelists discussed state and local initiatives to advance renewable energy markets and projects. Patrick D’Addario, President, Fiorello H. LaGuardia Foundation, US, stated that technologies cannot be transferred to developing countries in a vacuum, adding that they need to be integrated into the local scheme. Javier Garcia Monge, Energy and CDM Investment, Investment and Development Division, Corfo, Chile, said local banks do not know the renewable energy market, assume a high risk rate and ask for high warranties for Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects. Piyush Ranjan Rout, Executive Director, City Managers’ Association, India, discussed the importance of incentivizing citizens and building networks for sharing best practices. Dieter Salomon, Lord Mayor, Freiburg, Germany, stated that private investors are eager to invest but that we now need to enact good legislation that provides policy security for the next 20 years of investment. Mark Sinclair, Director, Clean Energy States Alliance, US, said states and local governments are driving clean energy progress and are at the forefront of policy development. George Fitch, Mayor, Warrenton, Virginia, US, stressed the importance of overcoming the reluctance of local governments to try new things, describing the promise of waste-to-energy systems.

CLOSING REMARKS: Paula Dobriansky said the pledges offered for the Washington International Action Program underscore that we all have a role to play in meeting the challenges of energy security and climate change.

Michael Eckhart, President, American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), said that over 8100 delegates had registered for WIREC 2008, which had involved 80 side events, a business conference, and a trade show in which over 240 organizations had exhibited their products or activities. He highlighted that President Bush’s speech on energy and climate had included new words we had not heard before, and noted Bush’s pledge to call on other heads of government to participate in the Clean Technology Fund.

At the close of WIREC 2008, over 100 pledges had been submitted for the Washington International Action Program, a compilation of domestic and international pledges to accelerate the global uptake of renewable energy. The Renewable Energy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) will support WIREC 2008 by following up on the implementation of the pledges, which will be accepted until 4 April 2008.

V. Subramanian, Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, offered to host the next International Renewable Energy Conference in India, with the dates and venue to be decided, but most likely to take place in early 2010. He expressed his hope that participants will come not just with pledges, but with progress to report on the fulfillment of pledges.



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City Managers’ Association Orissa