Steven Chu, U.S.
Energy Secretary
 
Washington, DC, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- January 11, 2010 - The first three projects under the Low-Carbon Communities of the Americas (LCCA) program, which was launched in June 2009 to assist countries in Latin America with sustainable energy market transformation initiatives, have been announced by United States Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Two of the projects will focus on energy efficiency in Costa Rica and the broader Caribbean region, while the third will test the viability of distributed wind generation in Dominica.

“The Low-Carbon Communities of the Americas (LCCA) initiative offers an opportunity for the Department to work closely with our neighbors to reduce energy use, increase energy security, and promote a low carbon future across the Western Hemisphere,” said Chu.

Through the LCCA program, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) invited countries to submit proposals for collaboration in areas including renewable energy development and building and industrial energy efficiency. The DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), along with other national laboratories, will provide technical assistance to countries receiving support under the initiative.  

In Costa Rica  an energy efficiency center will be created by the government, along with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which will train and certify professionals in energy efficient technology and auditing procedures, and help expand the technical knowledge base and capabilities of countries across Central America. Once established, the center will partner with leading energy efficiency organizations to conduct its own research on efficiency programs and energy savings in tropical areas.  The results of this research should benefit the Central American and Caribbean region as a whole, as well as provide important information for other nations with similar climates.

The project will bring together the DOE, Costa Rica’s electricity and telecommunications group ICE, the NRDC, and the University of Costa Rica to create the program and training materials, train the center’s future instructors, and run two initial energy efficiency auditor training courses.

The proposal from the Organization of American States (OAS) and the governments of St. Lucia, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, The Bahamas, Antigua & Barbuda, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines is aimed at enabling these countries to expand the development and use of renewable energy and energy efficiency systems, helping to increase the sustainability of their energy supplies while reducing carbon emissions. The project will target local training and technical programs on how to conduct energy efficiency audits and retrofits, with a focus on strengthening community capacity to review and evaluate resource assessments related to indigenous renewable natural resources.

The Dominica wind project aims to prove the viability of smaller, distributed wind generation as an alternative to traditional, megawatt class, utility"scale turbines. Efforts will take into consideration available technologies, economics, and constructability to identify and model appropriate turbine technologies under 250 kW. The project will also model commercialization strategies and the impact on the electrical grid of small distributed wind generation, assess the impact on energy costs for consumers, purchase and install initial pilot turbines, and implement a public information campaign to expand the use of renewable energy.
 
Further development and expansion of joint clean energy and climate efforts will be continued by energy ministers from North and South America at the Energy Ministerial to be held from April 15-16 in Washington, D.C.