New Initiatives for Clean Energy

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"Initiatives promote global transition to cleaner energy development."

Efforts to increase the use of solar and wind energy, electric vehicles and digital electricity grids received a boost at a "Clean Energy Ministerial" in Washington, D.C., attended by government representatives from around the world.

The gathering this week resulted in a number of initiatives designed to promote a global transition to cleaner energy development and use. The governments taking part represent more than 80% of global energy consumption, the U.S. Department of Energy reported.

The initial target population totals about 10 million people who would be assisted by projects such as the World Bank Group's "Lighting Africa" program. Italy has provided a $10 million grant to initiate the effort and has pledged an additional $20 million. The United States has pledged $10 million.

Ministers at the conference also agreed to establish a Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group to promote accelerated development of those energy technologies. The initial focus will be the development of a world atlas for solar and wind energy and a long-term strategy for increasing the production capacity of solar and wind generation.

The lead countries for the solar and wind initiative are Denmark, France, Germany, Japan and Spain. The latter three are the world leaders in installed solar energy production capacity. The United States, which trails in solar adoption, has not joined the initiative but has expressed interest in joining it, the Department of Energy said.

The United States did agree to join an International Smart Grid Action Network at the conference. The network will seek to accelerate the development and deployment of digital electricity grids around the world.

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