North American Energy Ministers Endorse Collaborative Framework to Advance Energy Science and Technology; Focus on Efficiency and Clean Energy
24 July 2007
Energy ministers for Canada, Mexico and the United States announced a series of collaborative actions on energy science and technology, energy efficiency, deployment of clean energy technologies and other cooperative projects.
Among the collaborative efforts endorsed was the first-ever trilateral agreement on energy science and technology—a framework designed to stimulate innovation and to share and help build capacity in all three countries.
In 2001, Mexico, the US and Canada agreed that energy security in the three countries could be strengthened by a North American focus and founded the North American Energy Working Group (NAEWG) to focus specifically on building trilateral cooperation on energy.
While trilateral cooperation on energy science and technology has increased under the NAEWG, its members agreed a more formal framework for collaboration was needed in order to address issues such as ownership of intellectual property rights and to provide the proper legal foundation for funding joint, mutually beneficial, projects in science and technology.
The new agreement addresses these issues, and allows for bilateral and trilateral cooperation in mutually beneficial research, development and deployment on a wide range of energy technologies for peaceful uses, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, nuclear energy, fossil fuels and electricity.
Among other areas, this could include advancing the science and technology of low- or zero-emission energy production and end-use technologies; low carbon fuels; carbon dioxide capture and storage; hydrogen and fuel cell technologies; and technologies to enhance the security of energy infrastructure.
The ministers emphasized the importance of seizing opportunities in energy efficiency. They committed to strengthening trilateral cooperation on motor vehicle fuel efficiency and “standby power” consumption, and identified seven additional energy-using products as potential candidates for harmonization.
Regarding “standby power”—the electricity consumed by common products such as televisions, computers, and others when not in use—the ministers agreed to support a trilateral workshop that will be held in Mexico City in September to explore possible joint approaches.
The ministers also reconfirmed their commitment to further aligning energy-efficiency standards on key consumer products, noting that recent collaborative efforts had resulted in the harmonization of energy performance standards for refrigerators, air conditioners and large electric motors.
The ministers announced that discussions will continue to identify specific ways to increase cooperation on research and development and to reduce barriers to the deployment of new technologies in a wide variety of areas, including biofuels, gas hydrates, hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, clean coal and electricity transmission.
To further these efforts Canada, the US and Mexico will exchange scientific and technical personnel in order to participate in joint studies and projects.
The ministers discussed the importance of continuing to increase the region’s energy security, recognizing the critical contribution that an integrated energy market makes to the North American economy, representing approximately US $150 billion in trade between the three countries. While recognizing and fully respecting the jurisdictional authorities of each country, they committed to working together to further enhance the effectiveness of the North American energy market.
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