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Chile + US = Green

During a reception in his home on July 2, 2009, US Ambassador to Chile Paul Simons made reference to a positive political collaboration between the US and Chile, and specifically to a number of jointly operated renewable energy projects between the two countries.

In April 2009 the Ambassador and Chile’s Minister of Energy, Marcelo Tokman, went to California to participate in two seminars aimed at promoting Chile as an ideal destination for investing in solar energy.

The two countries signed a bilateral agreement on renewable energy and energy efficiency in Washington in early July. The efforts include a solar energy pilot project in northern Chile and a new Center for Renewable Energy Research.

The Ambassador quoted US President Obama who has stressed the importance of energy initiatives and who said last week, “There is enormous interest both in the United States and in Chile in how we can develop solar power and wind power and biofuels and a whole host of other clean energy strategies that will make the people of both countries more prosperous and less dependent on imported energy needs. So we are going to be starting a cooperative project in Chile on this issue.”

Recognizing the importance of practicing good energy habits at home as well as on the grand scale, Ambassador Simons explained that his home was outfitted with solar panels for hot water last year, an effort that saved more than a million pesos in a single year.

He also announced the launch of two new conservation projects in the official residence, an ecological garden with plants that consume half the amount of water that similar plants consume, and a low-energy LED lighting network.

Other Chile-US exchange projects

The Ambassador also made reference to other aspects of the relationship that benefit the two countries, such as Bilateral Free Trade Agreement, which generated more than $20 billion dollars in business in 2008 (a growth of more than 200% in five years).

The Chile-California Plan, signed into action in June 2008 to maximize collaboration between the two regions in the areas of education, agriculture, the environment, energy, information technology, communication and trade, is very active, and other academic and research-based relationships that include scholarship programs, the Fulbright Commission, and knowledge exchange in areas such as national park management, agro-sanitary inspections, volcanology and astronomy.

Primary Source: Remarks by Ambassador Simons on July 4 Celebration

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