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Linda DaCosta
American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE)
Ph: +1-202-393-0001 x7552
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WASHINGTON, March 6 âEUR" Amid a call by President Bush for America to change its energy habits, renewable energy leaders from more than 150 countries are speaking and learning about how policies are fostering the growth of sustainable biofuels along with wind, solar and other forms of renewable electric generation at the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference, WIREC.

During a visit to the exposition floor of the Trade Show at the WIREC concluding today, Bush briefly discussed the status of various renewable energy policies with Michael Eckhart, president of the American Council On Renewable Energy, ACORE, the governmentâEUR(TM)s partner in producing the WIREC events.

âEURoeWe at ACORE are encouraged by the PresidentâEUR(TM)s sincere attention to renewable energy and fuels in his speech as well as conversation during his tour of the exhibit hall. In particular, we are pleased with his call for building greater stability into the renewable electricity markets through long-term or permanent tax incentives,âEUR Eckhart said.

Participants in the Trade Show at WIRECâEUR(TM)s Business Conference exchanged accounts of how government policies throughout parts of the European Union, Asia and South America have renewable energies such as wind, biofuels, and photovoltaic and concentrating solar power grow consistent from one year to the next. Leaders described the benefits of having national targets for increased adoption of renewable energy, as well as action plans and corresponding policies to reach those targets. They also talked about the âEURoepolitical willâEUR to lead.

âEURoeHaving legislation that applies to everyone is important to our progress as a whole,âEUR said Arthouros Zervos, president, European Renewable Energy Council. He said Europe as a whole is committed to the âEURoereduction of administrative and regulatory barriers to the growth of renewable energy and improvements in information, training and renewablesâEUR(TM) access to the grid.âEUR

Kim Campbell, former Prime Minister of Canada, spoke about a âEURoeshared sense of urgencyâEUR that is growing throughout the industrialized world about the need to adopt renewable energy as part of an action plan to dealing with a warming planet.

âEURoeYou have to create political will,âEUR said Campbell, who was among the active participants in the International Panel on Climate Change report on global warming and whose work concluded in 2007 in a seminal report that is inspiring many nations to step up their commitments to renewable energy with formal pledges at WIREC.

Connie Hedegard, the climate and energy minister from Denmark, who helped produce the first such official pledge, said investors in cleaner energy deserve mechanisms that will give them confidence money will be spent on renewable energy technologies. Denmark pledged to âEURoeincrease the share of renewable energy to at least 30 per cent of energy consumption by 2025.âEUR

Through Wednesday night, 34 pledges had been verified and posted on the WIREC web site with many more expected in the coming days and weeks.

âEURoeNorway has embarked on the ambitious journey to become carbon neutral,âEUR said Oivind Johansen, assistant director general of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, Norway. He explained that Norway, already rich in tidal and hydroelectric power, has pledged to over-fulfill its obligations under the Kyoto global warming treaty between 2008 and 2012 by some 5 million tons, creating renewable energy investment opportunities around the world as it seeks to offset its remaining emissions.

The European Union currently leads the world in biodiesel production, having set a continent-wide goal of 5.75 percent market penetration by 2010, and a mandatory target of 10 percent by 2020. âEURoeThe driver of biofuels policy has shifted from agriculture and rural development to climate change and energy security,âEUR said Michele Rubino of Navigant Consulting. German policy is shifting from tax exemptions to mandates, he said, as are policies in Brazil, Argentina, China and Malaysia. Next-generation technologies such as diesel fuel from algae are expected to help meet those mandates within a decade.

âEURoeYou have to have the right public policies in place, especially when an industry is growing like we are, to make the biggest contribution to AmericaâEUR(TM)s renewable energy future that we can,âEUR said Manning Ferraci, vice president of the National Biodiesel Board in the United States.

Germany has captured the world lead in solar photovoltaic energy development by giving producers an uncapped government benefit. Julie Blunden of SunPower Corp. told a WIREC audience that âEURoeGermanyâEUR(TM)s feed-in tariff is a wonder to behold and the world solar market has an enormous debt of gratitude to Germany and its leaders.âEUR She said Spain and Yugoslavia, among others, are following the German model, and now even countries in the oil-rich Middle East are starting to invest in solar power. That, she said, is âEURoean absolute litmus test for whether or not solar is mainstream and going to be part of the energy mix.âEUR

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About WIREC 2008

For a full listing of the speakers confirmed for the Business Conference at WIREC 2008, please visit http://www.americanrenewables.org/full_program.cfm.

To view the list of speakers for the Ministerial Meeting at WIREC 2008, visit: www.wirec2008.gov.

The list of approved Official Side Events can be found at http://www.americanrenewables.org/about_official_side_events.cfm.

To view ACORE President Mike EckhartâEUR(TM)s welcoming message to WIREC attendees, visit: www.acore.org.

To view President BushâEUR(TM)s address to WIREC, visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/03/20080305.html

To view official national and other pledges being made at WIREC, visit: http://www.usda.gov/documents/Pledge_Display_Web.pdf

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