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United States

Signs of strong political will with clean energy promotion projects

Russia, Ukraine, China and several Latin American countries are to receive $1.5 million from America for ten projects that promote clean energy-including wind power-and energy efficiency. The announcement was made by US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson at the United Nations on Earth Day, April 22. The grants will apparently be used for rural electrification and off-grid applications, and for energy efficiency. One will go to the National Rural Electric Co-operative Association for projects in Latin America. The other grants will be used for the export of American technology to these countries, where millions of people are off the grid.

"Renewable energy technologies such as small wind turbines or solar panels with battery storage can make a dramatic impact in the lives of these people," he said, adding that the US, "over time," needs to make "a transition to clean renewable energy choices." He also asserted that the Clinton administration this year will launch a five-year plan to use more wind energy. He noted that installed wind capacity has increased fivefold in the last ten years-and he brought his listeners up to the minute by informing them that wind's global installed capacity would soon pass the 10,000 MW mark (story page 8).

More than 70 environment ministers as well as advocacy groups, business and trade union leaders were gathered at the United Nations for a meeting of the Commission of Sustainable Development, an outgrowth of the landmark 1992 UN environmental conference in Rio de Janeiro.

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