by Daniel J. Graeber
Washington (UPI) Dec 15, 2016
The U.S. government said it held an outreach session with its counterparts in Cuba to discuss ways to collaborate on clean and renewable energy.
A working group of members of the U.S. departments of State and Energy hosted their Cuban counterparts in Washington, D.C.
"Participants discussed regional developments related to clean energy, including renewable energy and energy efficiency, and exchanged ideas and information on how the United States and Cuba can move forward on this shared interest," the U.S. State Department said in a statement.
According to the International Energy Agency, most of Cuba's renewable energy sector is dominated by hydroelectric opportunities, with solar power as the main second source of low-carbon power. About 4 percent of the nation's total electricity production comes from renewable energy resources.
With warming Cuba and U.S. relations bringing in new investment opportunities, the government in Havana aims to increase investments in renewable energy by $3.5 million in order to count on renewable energy for 24 percent of its power by 2030.
Cuban representatives met in August with delegates from the International Renewable Energy Agency to discuss the low-carbon trajectory for the island nation. IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin said that, apart from the overall public health benefits of a cleaner economy, renewable energy options would improve energy security for an opening Cuba.
The U.S. State Department said the working-group meeting came as the result of proposals offered during a joint economic summit in September.
The future of U.S.-Cuban relations is uncertain in a new administration in Washington. Donald Trump used his usual outlet, Twitter, to say he'd "terminate" the normalization effort with Cuba if the Havana government was "unwilling to make a better deal" for both countries.
Cuba has drawn interest from oil and gas explorers. Australian energy company Melbana said it had a team on the ground in Cuba coordinating with regulators and international service providers to verify the requirements and the access to local contractors available for a developing work program.
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