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EU-US Energy Council Ministerial Focuses on Clean and Efficient Technologies

19 November 2010: A joint statement released at the conclusion of the US-EU Energy Council Ministerial underlines the importance of energy in the US-EU dialogue in the 21st century, which aims to coordinate regulatory regimes and research programmes to speed the deployment of future clean and efficient energy technologies.

The statement indicates that the two sides, who met in Lisbon, Portugal, on 19 November 2010, tasked the Energy Security Working Group to: continue close contacts to support Ukraine on, among other things, implementing energy efficiency measures and promoting renewable energies; and encourage the Nigerian Government to use its oil and gas resources to promote economic development to the long-term benefit of the nation, while sustaining a positive investment climate and protecting the environment.

The two sides reviewed progress made in the Working Group on Technology and Research on technologies important for a low-carbon, sustainable global economy, including: hydrogen and fuel cells; solar power; carbon capture and storage (CCS); bioenergy; energy-efficient buildings; technologies critical to the deployment of renewable energy, including smart grids and advanced materials; and technologies of long-term strategic importance, such as nuclear fusion. They task the Working Group with: developing an action plan to lower the cost of energy storage on power grids; exploiting lessons learned from projects for bio-refineries using lignocellulosic and algal feedstocks; deepening collaboration on demonstration of CCS; and accelerating work on advanced energy materials, including rare earths. They also request accelerating work on expanding researcher exchanges on low-carbon energy solutions, facilitating participation by qualified researchers in each other's energy research, and in forming alliances among premier energy technology research bodies.

In the joint statement, the two sides also: welcome the focus of the Energy Policy Working Group on energy efficiency, CCS, smart grids, electric vehicles and nuclear safety; highlight the importance of enhancing cooperation on energy efficiency in the buildings sector and products, and of convergence between US and EU standards in those areas; recognize the mutual benefit of working towards common standards, convergent regulatory frameworks and effective incentives for the deployment of emerging clean energy technologies; and welcome a proposed workshop in 2011 on CCS, bringing together developers of European integrated demonstration projects with their counterparts from large-scale US projects.

The two sides further: recognize the importance of developing energy resources in a safe, reliable and environmentally sustainable way; agree to exchange expertise on environmental issues related to the utilization of unconventional gas resources, including shale gas, especially with a view to addressing the issue of public acceptability; and recognize the potential benefits from sharing information on regulatory initiatives and best practices related to offshore drilling, agreeing to consider practical ways to support the process currently underway in the G-20.

Ministerial-level participants on the US side were US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Energy Daniel Poneman. On the EU side, participants were EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, Belgian Energy Minister Freya Van den Bossche for the EU Presidency and EU Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger. [Joint Statement]