North American Energy Cooperation Enters a New Era

VICTORIA, British Columbia, Canada, July 24, 2007 (ENS) - The first trilateral framework agreement on energy science and technology was inked Monday by the energy ministers for Canada, Mexico and the United States. The compact is designed to stimulate innovation and to share and help build energy capacity in all three countries.

The ministers said they will look for ways to increase cooperation on research and development and to reduce barriers to the deployment of new technologies in biofuels, gas hydrates, hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, clean coal, and electricity transmission.

To further these efforts, the three countries will exchange scientific and technical personnel to participate in joint studies and projects.

"Science and technology are fundamental to increasing energy security, sustaining economic prosperity and protecting our environment," said Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Gary Lunn, who hosted his counterparts Mexican Energy Secretary Georgina Kessel, and U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman at the Victoria meeting.

From left: Mexican Energy Secretary Georgina Kessel, Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Gary Lunn, and U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman (Photo courtesy Office of Minister Lunn)
"With greater North American cooperation, all three of our nations can increase the potential return on our investments in energy science and technology," said Lunn.

"Our challenge in North America is to make the use of energy compatible with economic growth and the preservation of the environment. Basic and applied scientific research, which this agreement promotes, is a key factor in overcoming this challenge successfully," said Kessel.

Bodman said, "Today's trilateral agreement renews our joint efforts to ensure sustainable energy development, increase energy efficiency and advance the use of clean energy technologies across North America and the world," Bodman said.

In a joint statement, the three ministers confirmed their commitment to aligning energy-efficiency standards on key consumer products. Their recent collaborative efforts have harmonized energy performance standards for refrigerators, air conditioners and large electric motors.

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 electronics 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.

Ministers advance North American energy cooperation. (Photo courtesy Office of Minister Lunn)
The ministers discussed increasing 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," the three ministers committed to work together to enhance the effectiveness of the North American energy market.

Cooperation on energy issues has also been a key element of discussions among the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. since 2005.

Last year in Cancun, the countries' leaders renewed their commitment to trilateral cooperation on energy conservation, clean energy technologies and bringing new energy technologies to the marketplace.

In their joint statement the energy ministers said, "The outcomes of today's meeting will demonstrate to leaders the effectiveness of cooperation by the energy ministers on energy security" in advance of the North American Leaders' Summit to be held August 20 and 21 in Montebello, Quebec."

Energy will be one of the important issues for U.S. President George W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Felipe Calderon of Mexico at their meeting in Montebello.

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