APEC wants continued development of renewable energy

Solar, wind, geothermal and bioenergy for electricity, and biofuels for transport, are diversifying energy supply, and energy ministers urged “continued technology development efforts to further reduce their costs, standardise products, develop supply sources, and share best practices to accelerate their use in electricity generation, buildings and transport sectors.”

A declaration issued after their meeting in Fukui, Japan, directs APEC to “advance energy security, improve energy efficiency and increase the clean energy supply in the APEC region.”

The initiatives include a collaborative assessment of standards and testing to boost investment in energy efficient appliances, and a study to assess the potential for nuclear power to reduce carbon emissions in APEC countries.

A Smart Grid Initiative will evaluate the potential of smart grids to support the integration of intermittent renewable energies and energy management approaches in buildings and industry.

“Smart grid technologies, including advanced battery technologies for highly-efficient and cost-effective energy storage, can help to integrate intermittent renewable power sources and building control systems that let businesses and consumers use energy more efficiently, and they can also help to enhance the reliability of electricity supply, extend the useful life of power system components, and reduce system operating costs.”

More gas will facilitate intermitten renewable energies

Enhanced production of natural gas can ease the transition to a low-carbon economy because gas has a lower carbon footprint than other fossil fuels and enables greater use of intermittent renewable energy sources, the declaration explains.

It includes renewable energy, as well as nuclear and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage, in its definition of low-emission power sources.

“Biofuels from sustainable biomass sources can displace a share of oil use and crude oil imports for transportation, and they have a far smaller carbon footprint,” it continues.

The declaration from the energy ministers directed a number of APEC working groups to work on various aspects, including a continued assessment of renewable energy options for reducing carbon emissions which spur investment and create new jobs.

The ministers called for a larger energy intensity reduction target, since they say their 2007 goal of reducing by 25% by 2030 is “likely to be far surpassed.”

The declaration also reiterates APEC's commitment to phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption.

“We have to take on the difficult challenge of enhancing regional energy security, in the midst of emerging concerns about the global environment and world economy,” the ministers noted.

“More efficient use of energy and a cleaner energy supply will simultaneously boost our energy security, grow our economies and lower our emissions. To achieve all three goals at once will require strong leadership.”

Fossil fuels to continue key role

“Fossil fuels will continue to play a key role in the APEC energy market as economies develop new and unconventional energy sources,” but “open and transparent investment regimes, with due observance to each economy's respective laws and regulations, are important for development of new and traditional energy forms alike.

“Improving energy efficiency is one of the quickest, greenest and most cost-effective ways to address energy security, economic growth and climate change challenges at the same time,” it states.

“Energy-efficient buildings and appliances are key to a sustainable future since the building sector accounts for two-fifths of energy use in the region.”

APEC was formed in 1989 to facilitate economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. It has no treaty obligations required of its participants, and decisions are reached by consensus and commitments are undertaken on a voluntary basis.

The 21 members account for 40% of the world's population, 54% of global GDP and 44% of world trade. Its member economies are Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People's Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; The Republic of the Philippines; The Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States of America; Viet Nam.