The Financial Times called CERAWeek “the Davos of energy” for good reason: the event attracted more than six thousand public and private sector energy leaders from more than 100 countries. On the “Partnerships in the Asia Energy Transition” panel, I described USTDA efforts to deploy resilient and low-carbon energy solutions across the Indo-Pacific region. I was amazed by the array of innovative U.S. companies who are creating groundbreaking solutions to address the climate crisis.
While in Houston Dr. Aghi and I convened the Climate Technologies Action Group to facilitate a private and public sector dialogue and concrete action for mobilizing climate-smart infrastructure projects in India and accelerating the development of the country’s clean energy sector. We were delighted to partner with CERAWeek on this industry event, which was moderated by Dr. Atul Arya, Senior Vice President and Chief Energy Strategist at S&P Global.
Critical to these efforts is bringing more U.S. companies into USTDA’s ecosystem of opportunity. Our Making Global Local initiative, which counts the GHP and MOTIA as partners, is our vehicle for doing so. GHP President and CEO Bob Harvey and I met and pledged to work together to link Houston-area companies, especially small businesses, to overseas opportunities in areas such as clean technology and smart cities. I also had the honor of meeting Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner at the MOTIA-hosted World Energy Cities Partnership Reception, where I also had the opportunity to connect with overseas mayors and potential partners for USTDA’s next great climate projects.
Many thanks to the GHP, MOTIA and U.S. Commercial Service Houston for making this such a productive trip!
Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally (Ret.)
Energy Security Through Diversification
The key to Eastern Europe’s energy security is diversification, especially as it faces intensified geopolitical threats and challenges. Reducing the region’s reliance on Russian national gas will enhance its security but require the opening of more liquefied natural gas terminals to import energy from alternative sources in North America, the Middle East and Asia. A longer-term and more sustainable solution will require Eastern Europe to shift toward indigenous sources of power, including clean and renewable energy. This shift means also adding nuclear energy capacity, which has the potential to replace the region’s use of coal as a baseload power source. It also means building out Eastern Europe’s infrastructure for renewable energy, including adding energy storage capacity. An energy-secure Eastern Europe will require scaling existing project preparation efforts to plan and meet the region’s longer-term energy security needs. It will also require access to cutting-edge U.S. solutions.
Over the past thirty years USTDA has advanced energy security across Eastern Europe through its funding of more than 130 energy sector activities in 18 countries. In Poland, the Agency is supporting the most ambitious and consequential power sector investment in a generation through grant funding for a front-end engineering and design study to develop the country’s first nuclear power plant. Westinghouse Electric Company and Bechtel Power Corporation are performing the study, which will facilitate Poland’s transition away from coal-fired power and strengthen its efforts toward longer-term clean energy security.
USTDA is also facilitating the introduction of innovative U.S. small modular reactor (SMR) technology to the region. In Romania, the Agency funded technical assistancefor the country’s nuclear energy authority, Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica S.A., to support the integration of SMR technology into Romania’s national energy strategy. USTDA’s assistance is developing a shortlist of SMR-suitable sites, assessing SMR technology options, and developing site-specific licensing roadmaps.
As the Agency grows its clean energy portfolio, it will also feature partnership-building activities in addition to project preparation. USTDA is now half-way through a series of six technical workshops focused on supporting SMR deployment in Eastern Europe and is in the planning stages of reverse trade missions to the United States, to promote the safe and efficient deployment of SMR technology to the region.
USTDA’s activities will pay dividends for Eastern Europe’s clean energy future. The Agency seeks new opportunities to partner with U.S. industry, to advance the decarbonization and diversification of the region’s energy infrastructure through the deployment of high-quality U.S. infrastructure solutions.
The Women Who
by Thamar Harrigan
USTDA Chief of Staff and White House Liaison
March is Women’s History Month. This year’s theme of “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope” honors our caregivers and inspires us to reflect upon the women we admire. As an American of Haitian descent who grew up in an immigrant household, I watched my grandmother – a merchant – model these characteristics as our family matriarch. There was also the daily inspiration of my mother, and the armies of aunties and women in the marketplace who conducted business in difficult circumstances, combatting infrastructure and other obstacles to their success.
Today, USTDA partners with women around the world whose vision and leadership are shaping a better, more prosperous future for everyone. Our project preparation assistance is linking them to U.S. solutions that will advance their ambitious goals. Here are just a few of our partners, introduced by USTDA staff:
“Habiba Ali is such an inspiration. Her company, Sosai Renewable Energies, is leading a project that will bring 100 solar-powered minigrids to rural communities across Nigeria. Habiba’s vision is to create real, life-changing economic opportunities for thousands of women and the families and communities that they support. Energy access for women is foundational to economic growth and development. I’m so proud that USTDA is supporting her vision.”
“Sofia, Bulgaria, and the Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality in Turkey have female mayors who are creating greener, more livable urban environments. Sofia’s mayor, Yordanka Fandakova, is prioritizing the modernization of her city’s district heating infrastructure. And Mayor Fatma Şahin is committed to transforming Gaziantep into a smart city. By leveraging data, Mayor Şahin envisions cities that are ‘healthier, cleaner, more comfortable, more livable, citizen-oriented and sustainable.’ Sofia has roughly the same population as Dallas. Gaziantep’s is nearly as large as Houston’s. Leading by example, these big-city mayors are inspiring their citizens and global counterparts to prioritize climate.”
“Two women are leading the effort to make the City of Cape Town the most digitally connected city in Africa. For more than a decade, USTDA has partnered with the city to deploy digital infrastructure to strengthen the delivery and management of critical services, including water, internet connectivity, and safety and security. Leading the charge for Cape Town is its Director of Information Systems, Omeshnee Naidoo. Naidoo is working closely withDi Landau, the CEO of California-based Global Resources, Inc., under a USTDA-funded project preparation grant to create a digital investment strategy for Cape Town. These two phenomenal women are working together to build a brighter future for millions of South Africans.”
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