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G-8 to call for expanding investment in renewable energy field

Jul 2, 2009 - The Associated Press

Leaders of the Group of Eight advanced countries will vow to build up policies and expand investment in the renewable energy field to help solve both energy security and climate change issues, a draft statement shows.

The pledge will be contained in the leaders' statement on energy security to be adopted at the G-8 summit to be held in Italy later this month.

"Fostering investment in energy infrastructure, energy efficiency, diversification of the energy mix and technological innovation is key to granting secure, clean and affordable energy to long-term world needs, while substantially curbing carbon emissions," says the document, a copy of which was obtained Thursday by Kyodo News.

The leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States acknowledge that "The current financial and economic crisis, however, is delaying investment, leading to the cancellation of a number of energy projects and affecting energy security," according to the document.

"We are committed to promoting the recovery, together with a significant change in investment patterns, in order to accelerate the transition toward low-carbon development models and avoid the risk of technological lock-in."

Energy efficiency "is the most abundant and inexpensive means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions while substantially improving energy security."

"We commit to design and implement effective policies in our countries to improve energy efficiency in all the main sectors of the economy."

Renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass will play "an essential role, as they meet the dual challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering fossil-fuel consumption and dependence."

"We will therefore improve policy and regulatory frameworks in order to boost investment in mature renewable energies and promote their deployment and diffusion also in emerging and developing countries."

The leaders will also vow to promote the development of smart grids, a next-generation power transmission network, "to accelerate the efficient and secure integration of renewable energy sources into the electricity system and to engage actively the demand side in enhancing energy efficiency."

But the leaders will acknowledge that "despite effective diversification strategies, fossil fuels will continue to be an essential component of the energy mix in many countries, developed and developing, at least in the medium term."

"The development of innovative technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) will therefore constitute an essential contribution to tackle climate change," the document says. "We...will call for the active involvement of the private sector in this endeavor."

The G-8 countries "will accelerate the design of policies and regulatory frameworks focused on the development of CCS technology."

The G-8 leaders are scheduled to meet in the city of L'Aquila, central Italy, from July 8 to 10.

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso plans to leave Tokyo on Monday for Italy to attend the summit and hold talks with some of other G-8 leaders on the sidelines of the event.