Held in cooperation with the German Embassy and the Representative of German Industry and Trade on March 30, 2011, this event showcased the development of the electric car industry on both sides of the Atlantic, and highlighted the necessary R&D, infrastructure and energy supply challenges. Speakers included Ralph Fücks, President, Heinrich Boll Stiftung, Germany; Edwin Owens, U.S. Department of Energy; Brian Rampp, BMW; Brian Wynne, Electric Drive Transportation Association; Dr. Matthias Haun, Bosch; Lee Godown, GM; Claus Fest, RWE; Michael Kagan, Constellation Energy; and Daniel Ciarcia, General Electric; and Luis Giron, Siemens.

Conservative control of the House of Representatives weakens the already-flagging momentum on climate-change legislation. Many new Congress members – Republicans (including Tea Party activists) – will expand the ranks opposing environmental action as too expensive or even denying the existence of global warming as a man-made problem.

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On September 20, 2010, the European Institute welcomed The Honorable Eamon Ryan T.D., Minister for Communications, Energy, and Natural Resources of the Republic of Ireland. In a comprehensive presentation on Harnessing the Knowledge and Green Economies for Sustainable Growth, Minister Ryan began by addressing the Ireland’s current debt crisis and the government’s efforts to reduce the budget deficit to 3% of GDP in five years and to achieve more that 4% growth by 2012.  Central to these efforts is investment and trade in the energy and ICT sectors, which Minister Ryan argues are key components for sustainable economic growth.  As examples, he cited Ireland’s implementation of a National Retrofit Program to deliver energy efficiency upgrades and ongoing efforts to draw upon such plentiful renewable energy resources as wind. Minister Ryan stressed the importance of similar priorities in the European Union and emphasized the need for a common energy market within the EU, a single European digital market, and freer global technology transfer between the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Click here to read the full text of Eamon Ryan's remarks.

Germany’s decision to extend the licenses of the country’s 17 nuclear plants – and thus delay a long-planned calendar for a phase-out of nuclear-generated electricity -- reflects a wider and growing shift across Europe in favor of the nuclear option as a key component of countries’ energy mix.

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Nikos Tsafos is a Manager specializing in natural gas with PFC Energy.

U.S. Success Not A Blueprint For Europe

Europe, a continent where energy security--or insecurity--is a major source of anxiety, is beginning to look at the US success with shale gas, tight gas, and coal-bed methane gas, known collectively as “unconventional gas,” as a possible source of deliverance from its energy troubles. And the Russians, who are Europe’s largest supplier of natural gas, are genuinely worried that production could take off. Alexander Medvedev, the deputy head of Gazprom, recently expressed concern that gas from shale in the United States was a “dangerous development.” He meant, of course, that shale gas could perpetuate the current glut in global supplies, keeping profits down for Gazprom.

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