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Delegates from twelve Latin American and Caribbean countries have agreed to create a regional network to integrate energy policy planning.

The Regional Program for Capacity Building in Energy Planning was agreed on at the end of March in Quito, Ecuador, at a meeting organised by the Latin American Organization of Energy (OLADE) and the International Organization oSpanishf Atomic Energy (OEIA).

The project involves Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.

OLADE's spokesperson María Sircia De Sousa said they will implement the project by making "a diagnosis to identify the energy needs and the main natural resources of each country, so as to trigger the production of alternative energies."

Sousa said the implementation of the project would rely on the experience of Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.

OLADE have suggested the creation of an energy planning committee in each country. "We want to reduce the environmental impact through appropriate planning, so that in the future we can offer safe and good quality energy, cheap to everyone," said Sousa.

A forum for regional energy integration will be held in Colombia in November 2007 with energy ministers from each country. This will further integrate governments into the project and sponsor alliances guaranteeing its success.

OLADE is also coordinating a regional program on biofuels, gathering 26 Latin American and Caribbean countries.

The Quito meeting concluded that sugarcane ethanol and nuclear are the main energy choices for the region.

The biofuels program will support the implementation of national initiatives in energy and commercialisation of biofuels, oversee distribution and quality control, and help the creation of rural companies for biofuel production.

"The main contribution of this program is related to the use of biofuels and energy efficiency," said Byron Chiliquinga, coordinator of renewable sources and environment at OLADE.

The programme is also expected to create an association to analyse the impact of biofuels in agriculture.