International conference focuses on renewable energy, energy efficiency
Apr 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By David A Kolman
More Than 2,800 delegates from 119 countries, along with nearly 3,000 other attendees, took part in the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC). Government officials and energy experts discussed concrete ways their countries could develop renewable energy, promote sustainable development, and reduce greenhouse emissions.
Participating at the event in Washington DC March 4-6 were several vehicle manufacturers, including GE, Nissan, Toyota, and Volvo. Volvo presented seven renewable fuel-powered trucks, along with a hybrid electric truck. It also sponsored two seminars, one on renewable fuels for CO
In his speech to the meeting, President George W Bush addressed the US strategy for reducing oil use in America, discussed current initiatives to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy use, and committed $2 billion over the next three years to create an international clean energy technology fund that would help developing countries finance renewable energy projects.
“Over the past seven years — or since I have been the President, the federal government spent more than $12 billion to research, develop, and promote alternative energy sources,” he said.
In noting the importance of renewable and alternative energy technologies to increase America's energy security and address the long-term challenge of global climate change, Bush stated: “The more sources of energy we have, the less influence any one of them, such as oil, has over the United States' security and prosperity. Renewable energies are some of the most promising new sources for energy because they are clean and because their supply can be regenerated.”
Confronting climate change through investment in renewable fuels and energy was a recurring message throughout WIREC.
The Renewable Fuels Mandate, contained in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, will increase the use of renewable fuels by 500 percent, the President said. “The legislation requires fuel producers to supply at least 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by the year 2022.”
He cited biodiesel as “the most promising renewable fuel” because it can be produced from soybeans and other vegetable oils, including such waste products as recycled cooking grease.
Last year, the US produced about 450 million gallons of biodiesel — up 80 percent from 2006. Today, more than 650 biodiesel fueling stations and hundreds of fleet operators use biodiesel to fuel their trucks.
The nation's ethanol production has quadrupled from 1.6 billion gallons in 2000 to an estimated 6.4 billion gallons in 2007, said Bush, with the vast majority coming from corn. “In 2005, the United States became the world's leading ethanol producer, and last year, we accounted for nearly half of worldwide ethanol production.”
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