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Building Clean Energy Partnerships With China and Japan

November 15, 2010 - 12:54pm

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This week (November 14th-19th), I will be traveling to China and Japan to meet with government officials, business leaders and others to discuss the opportunities for partnership in clean energy – partnerships that are important to America’s economic competitiveness. China and Japan have made significant commitments to invest and develop the next generation of clean energy technologies. We need to work closely with both countries, or risk falling far behind in the race for the jobs of the future.

The United States and China account for more than 40 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, a staggering statistic that neither nation believes to be sustainable. This common problem has given way to a common goal, the desire to fund and create innovative technologies and approaches that can help us reduce our emissions while increasing our economic prosperity.

That mission is embodied in the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center that we launched last year, which will facilitate joint research and development on clean energy by teams of scientists and engineers from the U.S. and China. During my trip, we’ll be building on the significant progress we’ve already made on this project. I will be participating in a Steering Committee meeting with senior government officials, in which we will discuss next steps and outline our main goals and deliverables.

Of course innovation can only truly thrive in an open environment where ideas can be tested and challenged, allowing the best ones to rise to the top. That’s an outlook I hope to instill in the students and faculty of Tongji University in Shanghai when I meet with them on Monday, as they will have an important role to play as China pursues the next generation of clean energy technologies.

I am also looking forward to learning more about the clean energy investments and scientific efforts underway in Asia that can help inform our efforts in the United States. For example, I will be touring Huaneng Power's carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Shanghai, the world’s largest CCS project to date. This technology is vital to both the United States and China, and international cooperation will be an essential ingredient to our success.

During my time in Japan, I will tour Nissan’s Advanced Technology Center, and get a firsthand look at the Nissan Leaf. Thanks in part to a loan provided by the Department of Energy, Nissan will be building 150,000 of these vehicles in the United States, leading to 1,300 jobs in Smyrna, Tennessee.

This is the 50th anniversary of the historic U.S.-Japan Alliance. Last year, we built off that longstanding relationship to establish the U.S.-Japan Clean Energy Action Plan, which lays the groundwork for collaboration in energy efficiency, carbon capture and storage and the smart grid technologies. It’s a valuable partnership that I believe will only expand in the coming years.

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