22 May 2007 - 09:26
  • News Code: 105231

Just how quickly Colorado is making itself a leader in the field of renewable energy could be seen Thursday in Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s visit to the state.

Reinfeldt toured the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden and later met with Gov. Bill Ritter and other leaders for about 50 minutes. Ritter and Reinfeldt discussed Sweden’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and Colorado’s push to increase the production and usage of solar and wind energy.

Sweden is considered one of the world leaders in the renewable field, having reduced oil usage to just 30 percent of its energy supply while promoting alternatives such as hydroelectric and nuclear power.

It also has reduced emissions 7 percent since 1991 without hurting its economy, which has grown 36 percent during that time.

Reinfeldt’s first trip to the United States since his September election included stops with President Bush, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

But he wanted to visit Colorado, he said during an afternoon news conference, to learn what it’s doing to promote renewable energy at a state level--because US energy policy is viewed as oil-dependent.

“I don’t think that’s always been the picture of the US in Europe, and we need to be enlightened that there’s things happening in this state,“ Reinfeldt said of what Ritter terms the “New Energy Economy.“

Reinfeldt, who testified before Congress this week that he thinks Bush must do more to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, said he’s impressed by the way states such as California and Colorado are leading the charge toward cleaner fuels.

He hopes that will put pressure on the federal government, he said.

Accompanied by a team of highlevel government officials, he said Sweden isn’t seeking economic agreements with individual states so much as it’s looking to share its knowledge while learning how to improve production of various fuels.

Partnerships might be forged between the two countries, he said.

Ritter called it an honor to exchange ideas with such an “enlightened leader.“

Reinfeldt, 41, is the third-youngest prime minister in Swedish history and is seen as one of the top US allies in Europe.

 

PIN/ GAZETTE.COM

News Code 105231

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