Remarks by AIT Director Christopher J. Marut at Opening Ceremony of the Conference on Next Generation Power in Asia

Taipei, Taiwan
May 12, 2015

Minister Deng, Senior Official Wang, distinguished visitors, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

On behalf of the American Institute in Taiwan and my U.S.-based colleagues, it is my great honor to welcome you to this “Next Generation Power in Asia” conference, co-hosted by AIT and the Taiwan Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Bureau of Energy.

This event marks an exciting step forward in our regional energy cooperation. Over the past several years, the American Institute in Taiwan and Taiwan’s Bureau of Energy have worked together on programs covering a range of important energy topics, including clean energy, natural gas, and energy efficiency. Today’s conference significantly extends the scope of our ambitions, and, we hope, the regional impact of our efforts to promote wider adoption of renewable energy. Thanks to the generous support of Taiwan’s Bureau of Energy and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we are pleased to welcome distinguished officials and energy experts from across the Asia-Pacific region.

I would also like to recognize the U.S. Agency for International Development and Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute for their efforts to bring this initiative to a wider audience.

The importance of changing the way we produce and consume energy is becoming clearer every day. In every region, we see the negative impacts of our current overdependence on fossil fuels. The effects of climate change are manifesting themselves in alarming ways across the globe. In many cities in the Asia-Pacific region, air pollution is having demonstrably negative effects on human health; and in our oceans, rising mercury levels are damaging marine habitats and threatening global food security.

All of these developments underscore the need for governments to plan and implement good energy policy and to adopt cleaner, more efficient, and affordable ways of producing energy.

The United States has taken important steps in recent years to improve our own energy security. At the same time that we have experienced an energy boom made possible by cutting-edge advances in fossil fuel extraction, the United States has invested billions of dollars in research and loan guarantees in areas such as renewable energy, carbon capture and sequestration, energy efficiency, smart electric grids, advanced nuclear technologies, and new vehicle technologies.

We have pursued cooperation with a broad spectrum of international partners on energy issues, some of which are represented in this room today.

I am delighted that we have with us today senior officials from the United States Department of Energy and National Renewable Energy Laboratory. These experts will be able to share the latest information about energy-related developments taking place in the United States. I am also pleased that so many private sector representatives are attending. The deployment of private capital in support of broader adoption of clean and renewable energy technologies will be essential to global efforts to counteract or roll back the environmental damage caused or worsened by climate change.

Investments in cleaner, safer forms of energy will be a major source of innovation and job growth in the coming decades. We welcome the opportunity to explore more and better private-public partnerships that can help us achieve our energy goals. I hope the next two days provide inspiration for future collaboration.

Finally, I would like to recognize the officials and representatives who have traveled here from around the region to participate in this two-day discussion.

The topics of this conference: solar energy, wind power, smart grids— and solutions to the technical and policy challenges that go with them—hold the potential to help us reach the cleaner, more sustainable, and more prosperous future that we aim to bequeath to our future generations. Like all of the most complex challenges the world faces today, success will only come through sustained international cooperation.

Thank you, and best wishes for a successful event.