By MacKenzie C. Babb
IIP Staff Writer
22 November 2011
The State Department has announced it will open a new Bureau of Energy Resources to focus on promoting energy security for the United States and its international partners through global collaboration.
“The world of energy diplomacy is one that we see as central to the mandate that we have as a foreign policy agency,” said Ambassador Carlos Pascual, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs.
Speaking from the Foreign Press Center in Washington November 21, Pascual said the bureau’s creation comes in response to Clinton’s call for the department to devote greater attention to the coordination of U.S. international energy policies, as they have a “direct impact” on the country’s national security and economic growth.
Pascual said the focus on energy diplomacy “demonstrates the connection between what we do in our foreign policy and our interests here at home,” as working toward energy security with international partners enhances “the ability to create jobs, the ability to have access to adequate supplies of energy and the ability to help stimulate and generate markets” in the United States and around the globe.
The special envoy said the new bureau, composed of more than 50 people drawn together from different offices in the State Department, will focus on three key objectives.
“One is the management of geopolitics of energy and energy markets,” Pascual said, adding this goal is key to promoting adequate and affordable supplies of energy and keeping energy markets stable.
Pascual said the second aim is to “stimulate market forces for transformational policies in alternative energy, electricity, developmental and reconstruction programs.” During his announcement of the bureau’s launch November 16, he said this work will be critical in creating market demand for green technologies.
The final objective is to increase access to energy for the world’s poor through “commercially viable and environmentally sustainable means.” As access to electricity is a principal driver of economic growth, Pascual said a significant portion of achieving this objective will be to increase access for the 1.3 billion people living without electricity around the world.
The ambassador emphasized the importance of strong markets to support these objectives, and said market stability, incentives and viability will play an important role in creating long-term sustainability for energy security.