For Immediate Release
Following the commitment by Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev at the June 24th U.S.-Russia Summit to promote energy efficiency and green technology, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Russian Energy Agency (REA) on July 21 signed a Protocol of Intent to deepen collaboration on energy efficiency, "smart grid" technology, and clean energy. The agreement will foster partnerships with U.S. and Russian utilities, regulators and others to share information and best practices. Potential activities will reduce energy loss in electricity systems and decrease levels of carbon emissions to help mitigate climate change.
The signing occurred as a part of a larger program of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission Energy Working Group under the leadership of U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Russian Minister of Energy Sergey Shmatko.
The U.S. and Russia are among the world's largest emitters of greenhouse gasses per capita according to the World Bank. Both also have enormous potential for energy efficiency improvements. A report by the World Bank Group estimated that realizing its full energy efficiency potential could save Russia up to $80 billion annually.
During the signing ceremony, USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for Europe & Eurasia Jonathan Hale noted, "We both have a lot to gain from new cooperation. By bringing people together, we can have a more significant impact on global issues, including promoting energy efficiency and combating climate change. I look forward to meeting with the Russian Energy Agency in Moscow within the next several weeks to keep this opportunity moving forward."
U. S. Energy Association Executive Director Barry K. Worthington also noted that American and Russian businesses have a lot to gain from this partnership. "We [both] have specific experiences…that can benefit our industry."
The agreement with Russia is just one of USAID's efforts to improve energy efficiency, energy security, and clean energy technology in Europe and Eurasia and contribute to the President's goal of fighting global climate change.
The agency is implementing a $13.5 million Ukraine Municipal Heating Reform Program aimed at improving the institutional framework and strengthening the capacity to implement energy efficiency projects in municipal utility systems and residential buildings across the country. In Macedonia, USAID launched a pilot program with Habitat for Humanity, the International Resources Group, and local organizations to illustrate the impact of energy efficiency in low-income housing, which has potential to lower utility costs, reduce emissions, and create green jobs. USAID also has a regional strategic planning activity in cooperation with the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs to advance energy efficiency and renewable energy development through collaboration in nine countries.
USAID looks forward to continuing and furthering cooperation with partners in Europe and Eurasia to promote energy efficiency and combat climate change. USAID Senior Counselor for Innovation Maura O'Neill said: "The awesome challenge of global climate change requires innovation and cooperation. Unleashing the wisdom and ingenuity in working government to government, people to people, business to business we can craft solutions that compel our economies forward."
For more information about USAID, visit www.usaid.gov.
Last updated: May 18, 2012