APEC to look at energy at Beijing summit

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter, in WASHINGTON

Sat, Dec 07, 2013 - Page 3

The US has identified renewable energy as a priority for the APEC summit next year and will continue to count on Taiwan’s support in its planned initiatives to deliver sustainability, the US State Department’s senior official for APEC affairs Robert Wang said in Washington yesterday.

Wang was scheduled to fly to China yesterday to attend the APEC Informal Senior Officials’ Meeting on Monday and Tuesday to discuss priorities for the APEC summit in Beijing next year with his counterparts from the other 20 APEC economies.

“We are looking at, among other things, energy, security and the environment,” although the US is primarily “in a listening mood” to try to see what China wants, Wang said when asked about the US’ priorities for the summit during a discussion with reporters.

The US, in conjunction with Brunei and Indonesia, launched the US-Asia Pacific Comprehensive Energy Partnership at the Seventh East Asia Summit last year, in which the US provides up to US$6 billion to encourage US companies to develop clean and renewable energy in Asia as part of US President Barack Obama’s plan to address climate change issues.

This year, Vietnam cochairs the partnership with Singapore. It hopes to identify clean and renewable energy projects, said Wang, who is to fly from China to Vietnam, where a US-sponsored technical assistance effort for a wind-power grid code is being undertaken by GE Energy Consulting and the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam to study the integration of large-scale wind energy to Vietnam’s power grid.

The area of energy security on the one hand and caring for the environment on the other hand is high on the Obama administration’s agenda, Wang said.

“We are hoping maybe to use this [2014] APEC year to try to make some progress, on, for example, fossil fuel subsidies reform to encourage countries to move away from inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that create problems for air pollution and climate change and to move towards clean and renewable energy,” Wang said.

The US hopes to get more countries to undergo peer review of fossil-fuel subsidies reform next year, including China, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, he said.

Singapore and the Philippines have already done away with fossil fuel subsidies, while Peru and New Zealand last month proposed a voluntary peer review process for fossil-fuel subsidies reform, which will be implemented next year, Wang said.

Asked about the role of Taiwan in cooperation with the US in this area, Wang said “we are hoping to get Taiwan to support the various initiatives we have in energy and environment, whether in terms of financing or in terms of fossil fuel reforms. We hope that Taiwan can contribute to these efforts.”

Wang has scheduled a meeting in Beijing with Taiwanese officials tomorrow morning, the first of a number of bilateral meetings with his APEC counterparts.

“We have a whole range of things we are working with Taiwan on, [but] I am not sure if energy would be the key topic for Taiwan ... we hope that Taiwan will also be glad to do something in this area, certainly in terms of financing a clean energy project,” Wang said.

Wang praised Taiwan for helping APEC to deliver the goal of inclusive and sustainable growth with its APEC Digital Opportunity Center, through which a wide network of training centers were set up in remote areas of many APEC economies to help people become more computer literate.