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Washington International Renewable Energy Conference 2008
WIREC 2008 Ministerial Meeting
Washington, DC | 4-6 March 2008
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US President George W. Bush Addresses WIREC

On Wednesday, 5 March, delegates to the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC) convened for the second day of the three-day conference. George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, spoke to participants in the morning, saying he suspected this type of conference would seem outdated within a decade due to rapid technological change, and that he sees a day when each house can be an electric generator of its own and feed power back to the grid. Bush told participants they should take pride in being part of the change.

WIREC 2008 participants then attended 23 plenary and workshop sessions on subjects related to the themes of: market adaptation and finance; agriculture, forestry and rural development; state and local authorities; and R&D. At the end of Wednesday, over 80 pledges had been submitted for the Washington International Action Program.

Above: US President George W. Bush addressed delegates.

Wednesday, 5 March
Morning Plenaries

In the morning, participants met in two parallel plenary sessions. One session, moderated by Under Secretary Thomas Dorr of the US Department of Agriculture, addressed the role of agriculture, forestry and rural development in renewable energy. The other, moderated by Gregory Manuel of the US State Department, discussed market adoption and finance of renewable energy.

Andrezej Dycha, Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Poland.

Arthur Cua Yap, Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Philippines.

Tim Pawlenty, Governor of Minnesota, in the session on market adoption and finance.
Address by US President George W. Bush

US President George W. Bush noted economic challenges to reducing dependence on oil, but stressed that reducing fossil fuel dependency would improve energy security, reduce vulnerability to terrorism, and benefit the environment. He outlined US projects that are promoting research on alternative energy sources, and presented opportunities, challenges and legislation his Administration has addressed and developed related to biofuel, hydrogen and nuclear power production. He said the US is working with others in the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership to help developing countries adopt nuclear power and to resolve nuclear waste issues.

Bush said the US is serious about confronting climate change and that there should be an effective, results-oriented international agreement that includes commitments by every major economy, with no free riders. He drew attention to major economies meetings that the US is hosting, stating that these meetings are parallel to the UN process, and seek to enable the UN process to become effective. He said an effective agreement will recognize that economies need to grow in order to afford the necessary investments in research and development. Noting that some countries cannot afford the technologies, he called on wealthy countries to support a clean technology fund, adding that he has called on Congress to commit substantial funds for this purpose. Bush also said tariffs and barriers on exports of these technologies should be eliminated to enable them to move duty free around the world.
Midday and Afternoon Sessions

Panelists in the session on state and local authorities renewable energy policy and financing initiatives, co-chaired by Virginia Sonntag-O'Brien, Coordinator, UNEP Sustainable Energy Finance Initiative and Piyush Ranjan Rout, Executive Director of City Managers' Association Orissa, India.

Panelists in a plenary session on research and development, moderated by Peter Robertson, Vice Chairman, Chevron Corporation.

Panelists in the session on market adoption and finance of grid-connected generation in emerging markets, moderated by David Bohigian, Assistant Secretary for Market Access and Compliance, US Department of Commerce.

Panelists in the session on research and development of wind and solar, moderated by Joachim Luther, Chairman of the International Science Panel on Renewable Energies (ISPRE).

Panelists during the session on state and local authorities creating national and sub-national partnerships, moderated by Paul Suding, Head of Secretariat, REN21.

Panelists during the session on market adoption and finance of renewable fuels in emerging markets, moderated by Hernan Martinez Torres, Minister of Energy and Mines, Colombia.

Panelists in the session on market adoption and finance of distributed and off-grid generation in emerging markets, moderated by Mark Radka, Energy Programme Coordinator, UNEP.

Stephen Kabuye, Mayor of Entebbe, Uganda, in a panel discussion on economic development tools for state and local governments.

Participants strolled through the convention center lobby, between ministerial sessions and the trade show.

Professor Bruce Dale of Michigan State University, during the session on research and development in bioenergy conversion processes.

Related Links

WIREC 2008 Conference Site
WIREC 2008 Agenda
REN21 Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century

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