DETROIT (AP) - Among the top issues at the upcoming Group of Eight energy summit will be technological developments needed to address environmental and energy security concerns, U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said Wednesday.
"We certainly believe the future of energy development, energy infrastructure and the ability to meet our energy demands consistent with a clean environment are dependent on new technologies," Abraham said.
He spoke before touring exhibits set up for the Detroit summit, which will host energy ministers of the eight major industrialized nations Thursday and Friday.
The summit is the first G-8 gathering to focus on energy since a Moscow meeting in 1998. The event was outlined as a major goal of President Bush's national energy policy proposal unveiled a year ago.
Besides technology, Abraham said the leaders will discuss energy security and regulatory opportunities — how to work together on a global basis to make more energy trading opportunities available.
"One of the thing the president emphasized ... is the need for us to expand our energy partnerships," Abraham said.
He said it's also likely the ministers will discuss sustainable development "so we have both a growing economy and a lower percentage of greenhouse gas emissions."
Abraham said his department will take the lead in developing technology to help address that long term challenge.
"I think this country will end up, as it always has, playing a very vital role in advancing new technologies to address problems," he said.
The countries participating in the summit are the United States, Canada, Russia, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Italy and France.
Abraham also talked about the effect the Middle East crisis will have on the energy supply.
"It makes more poignant the fact that a lot of America's energy demand is satisfied by imports," he said. "We're very concerned about the possibility there could be supply disruption."
He said that concern is part of the reason President Bush wants to fill the country's strategic petroleum reserve.
Abraham said his department also plans to address issues surrounding higher gas prices, including the need for more production and making it possible to add to the United States' refinery capacity.
Wednesday's appearance was the first of what will be several Abraham appearances during the summit. Abraham is to participate in the morning opening session Thursday and plans to give a major policy address during the energy forum lunch.
The summit will include sessions on a variety of topics, including energy security, energy market reform, diesel technology and fuel cells. On Friday, the U.S. and Canadian delegates will co-chair a meeting of the G-8 ministers.
Meanwhile, local law enforcement officials have increased security and practiced riot-control techniques to prepare for the arrival of the energy ministers.
There was no sign of demonstrators Wednesday, but security officials manned some downtown parking garages, and extra police officers walked downtown streets near the Renaissance Center meeting site.
Protesters at a G-8 meeting in July touched off riots in Genoa, Italy, where one protester was killed.
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