Energy leaders across the Americas gathered in Peru during the past two days, committing to take concrete actions to reduce carbon emissions in the region and promote alternative energies.

A clear challenge for the region is how to create employment while protecting the environment, Jeremy Martin, Energy program director of the Institute of the Americas wrote in an e-mailed statement from Lima on Tuesday. The group organized the Americas Energy and Climate Symposium which concluded today

Two significant agreements reached by regional leaders were in the area of energy efficiency. One is the creation of a Regional Energy Efficiency Center - announced by the U.S. and the Peruvian government. The other is a program called Low Carbon Communities of the Americas proposed by the U.S. Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu.

In the latter, the U.S. offered technical assistance and $1.7 million in financial support to countries to develop building standards and adopt modern urban planning strategies to reduce carbon emissions of urban communities across the region. The funding will be available starting in October, said Jen Stutsman a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Energy.

During the two-day symposium there was significant discussion about technology transfer across the hemisphere and the need to move ahead on harmonizing standards, Martin said.

However, there was no reported agreement on a specific regional renewable energy standard that would require utilities to get electricity from energy sources other than fossil fuels.

From a private sector perspective there seems to remain the challenge (need) of clear and stable rules for the development of renewable sources - some countries are sending clear market signals and incentivizing investment; others not, Martin stated.

The symposium is a follow up to a gathering of hemispheric leaders in April at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad & Tobago where they agreed that ensuring energy security, promoting alternative energy resources and confronting the effects of global climate change are among the greatest challenges facing their community of nations.

At that meeting, President Barack Obama announced the creation of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas.