White House Announces $6 Billion to Promote Clean Energy – in Asia

Fred Lucas | November 20, 2012 | 10:58am EST
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U.S. President Barack Obama attends the East Asia Summit at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012. Obama is in Cambodia on the final leg of his three-country tour of Southeast Asia. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

(CNSNews.com) – The White House announced the federal government will spend $6 billion over four years for a “sustainable energy future” plan with Asian countries that involves loaning tax dollars to other countries to increase their purchasing power for U.S. technology, services and equipment.

“Recognizing that energy and the environment are among the most pressing issues confronting our region, President Obama, in partnership with Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei and President of the Republic of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, today proposed the U.S.-Asia Pacific Comprehensive Partnership for a Sustainable Energy Future,” the White House announced Tuesday as Obama visits Asian Pacific countries.

The initiative comes after the Obama administration has been criticized for spending billions to subsidize U.S.-based green energy companies that went on to declare bankruptcy, including Solyndra, Ener1, A123, Beacon Power and other failed renewable energy ventures.

The White House announcement goes on to say that, “The United States will provide up to $6 billion to support the partnership.” Most of that will come from the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which will launch a $5 billion export credit financing program to certain Asian countries over the next four years “to increase access to American technology, services and equipment to implement energy infrastructure.”

The Overseas Private Investment Corps (OPIC) will spend $1 billion in financing for sustainable power and clean energy infrastructure projects in Asia, according to the White House. OPIC is the federal government’s development finance institution that mobilizes private capital with the intent of advancing U.S. foreign policy and getting U.S. companies into emerging markets.

The State Department will oversee a $1 million energy capacity building fund to support the U.S.-Asia energy partnership activities.

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency will support Asian power generation and distribution, according to the White House, but the White House news release does not estimate how much money the USTDA will spend on the project.

The White House estimates $9 trillion in investment for electricity will be needed through 2035 to meet the increasing demand in the region, which offers potential for U.S. industry.

“The Partnership will drive investment and facilitate progress on four key regional priorities: renewables and cleaner energy; markets and interconnectivity; the emerging role of natural gas; and sustainable development,” the White House release said. “We will engage with the private sector as well as partner countries in the region to determine specific projects within these four priority areas.”

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