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Department of Energy Selects U.C. Berkeley to Lead Consortium for U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center’s Energy-Water Track

August 20, 2015 - 4:03pm


WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected the University of California, Berkeley to lead a consortium of university, nonprofit, utility, and national laboratory partners in a new technical track under the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) that addresses water-related aspects of energy production and use. Once the award is finalized, the U.S. consortium will match or exceed DOE funding of $12.5 million and work with their Chinese counterparts to bolster collaborative efforts to ensure energy, water, and environmental security and combat climate change. The Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, with its consortium partners, has pledged an equivalent amount of resources, bringing the total bilateral effort to $50 million over 5 years.

“Addressing the impact of water resource scarcity and variability on energy systems in the U.S., China, and around the world will require collaborative efforts like CERC to develop technical solutions” said Secretary Moniz. “The U.S. consortium of university, nonprofit, industry, and national laboratory partners, led by the University of California, Berkeley, will leverage cutting-edge science and technology research capabilities to ensure our collective energy and water security.”

The University of California, Berkeley-led team will build the foundation for the technologies and expertise that will position the United States and China to continue to thrive in a future with constrained energy and water resources.  The team will use innovative technologies, modeling capabilities, and analytical research to explore and advance: water use reduction at thermoelectric plants; treatment and management of non-traditional waters; improvements in sustainable hydropower design and operation; climate impact modeling, methods, and scenarios to support improved understanding of energy and water systems; and data and analysis to inform planning and policy.  In coming months, members of the U.S. consortium will develop joint work plans with members of the Chinese consortium.

The energy-water track was announced in November 2014 by President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.  In addition to expanding work under CERC for research in energy and water, the announcement by President Obama and President Xi extended the collaborative efforts of CERC to 2020, with an additional investment of up to $150 million to continue initiatives underway. The current efforts focus on the development and deployment of clean vehicles, building energy efficiency, and advanced coal technologies for carbon capture, utilization and sequestration. Through this new joint effort, DOE seeks to transform how water is used in energy production and electricity generation, while improving water quality and availability for a diverse range of human applications.

CERC was initially launched in November 2009 by President Barack Obama and former Chinese President Hu Jintao to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technologies for the benefit of both countries. CERC’s mission is to facilitate technical collaboration in mutually agreed areas and accelerate transition to an efficient and low‐carbon economy, while mitigating the long‐term threat of climate change. For more about CERC, see: