G8 task force meets on renewables

The G8 governments' Task Force on Renewable Energy sat down for the first time last Friday in Rome, Italy, with the stated aim of mapping out a plan to expand use of renewables on a global scale, with a "particular" emphasis on developing countries where an estimated 2 billion people do not have access to reliable sources of energy.


LONDON�The G8 governments' Task Force on Renewable Energy sat down for the first time last Friday in Rome, Italy, with the stated aim of mapping out a plan to expand use of renewables on a global scale, with a "particular" emphasis on developing countries where an estimated "2 billion people do not have access to reliable sources of energy."

Set up at the G8 Summit in Okinawa, Japan, the task force, being co-chaired by Royal/Dutch Shell Group PLC Chairman Sir Mark Moody-Stuart and the Italian Ministry of the Environment's Dr Corrado Clini, is charged with "recommending practical actions which G8 governments can take to help remove the barriers [to take up of renewables]."

"The Task Force is charged with indicating the way to 'square the circle' of the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of renewable energy," said Clini.

"The 'new' renewable technologies, such as solar, wind, biomass, small hydro, geothermal, and hydrogen generated by renewable energy," he suggested, "can meet a significant part of the future demand for primary energy in developing countries."

Mood-Stuart echoed Clini's view that "energy is a vital component of development," stressing that renewables could play a "crucial role" in offering sustainable energy to those without access to an electricity grid.

But he remarked that for the "use of renewable sources to expand rapidly, they must be made commercial so that investment is attached."

"I am delighted that G8 governments and businesses can get together to see how this can be enabled most effectively," said Moody-Stuart. "This has to be about renewables as an energy business rather than just a pious hope."

Shell's UK exploration and production arm, Shell Expro, was first to bring to fruition a project in one of the most commercially promising "alternative" energy sectors in the UK, offshore wind, when the Blyth Offshore Wind Ltd. development on the north-east coast of England was given the green light by the UK Department of Trade & Industry earlier this year.

The Task Force said in order to meet its aim of "seeking input and view from a wide range of stakeholders," an advisory group had been set up which would "operate and interact with the task force largely on a virtual basis."

Other stakeholder dialog schemes, it said, would include a series of "outreach events" held around the world so that "interested parties [could] provide input to [the task force's] deliberations," and a soon-to-be-launched website where information on the initiative would be posted.

The Task Force is scheduled to next meet in the Hague, The Netherlands, on Nov. 20 when the COP 6 (Conference of the Parties) meetings are held, before making its recommendations to the G8 heads of Governments Summit in Genoa, Italy, next year.

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