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$5.5 Million Contest to Boost Clean Energy in the Americas

By Stephen Kaufman | Staff Writer | 08 June 2011
The competition includes proposals for measuring how the melting of glaciers in the Andes Mountains will impact water security.

The competition includes proposals for measuring how the melting of glaciers in the Andes Mountains will impact water security.

Washington — The Obama administration is hoping to enlist nonprofit American companies and universities in its efforts to promote clean and reliable energy and sustainable environmental practices in the Western Hemisphere through the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA).

According to a June 7 State Department media note, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are offering up to $5.5 million in a competition for U.S.-based nonprofits and universities that closes July 1.

The companies and universities are being asked to submit proposals outlining program concepts and ideas that would promote “electrical interconnection and cross-border trade in electricity in Central America as well as in the Andes; clean energy in the Americas; and an Andean Glacier and Water Resources Monitoring Network to promote modeling and information sharing on how glacial retreat will impact water security,” according to the media note.

President Obama proposed the ECPA in April 2009 with the goal of bringing countries across the Western Hemisphere together to cooperate on accelerating clean energy development and deployment, improving energy security, and reducing energy poverty, according to a March 2010 State Department fact sheet.

In his March 21 remarks in Chile, Obama said that under the ECPA, the region can come together to create clean energy jobs and pursue a future of more secure and sustainable energy.

“If anybody doubts the urgency of climate change … they should look no further than the Americas — from the stronger storms in the Caribbean, to glacier melt in the Andes, to the loss of forests and farmland across the region,” Obama said.

Many countries in the region have now stepped forward to participate in the ECPA and offer their own expertise on energy technology, he said.

“Brazil has expertise in biofuels. Chile in geothermal. Mexico on energy efficiency. El Salvador is connecting grids in Central America to make electricity more reliable,” Obama said.

“These are exactly the kind of partnerships that we need — neighbors joining with neighbors to unleash the progress that none of us can achieve alone,” he said.

(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

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