Washington, D.C. /eNewsChannels/ — The U.S. Department of State is providing $1 million to support Peace Corps volunteer efforts that increase rural access to energy, mitigate the effects of climate change, and support the use of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies in Central and South American communities, in support of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA).

With this funding, Peace Corps volunteers will work with international experts, local organizations, businesses, and community members on the ground to create efficient and green solutions to energy challenges in the Americas.

Under the partnership, Peace Corps volunteers will work with members of local communities to build infrastructure to support environmentally-friendly energy and to educate communities on climate change and energy conservation. Volunteers will train host-country citizens in the use of alternative fuels and to install, operate, and maintain energy-efficient technology, including biodigesters, solar water heaters, photovoltaic devices, solar and fuel-efficient stoves, and wind or mini hydroelectric power generators. These efforts will make clean energy more accessible to rural communities, reduce carbon emissions, improve public health, and provide opportunities for individuals and small businesses to generate income.

In April 2009, at the Fifth Summit of the Americas, President Obama invited all countries in the Western Hemisphere to join ECPA to promote collaboration on renewable energy, energy efficiency, cleaner fossil fuels, and energy poverty. Peace Corps’ initial ECPA-related efforts will be implemented in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Suriname.