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Partnering with China to Promote Renewable Energy Deployment

June 4, 2015 - 10:15am

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David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, delivers keynote remarks at the fourth U.S.-China Renewable Energy Industries Forum in Washington, D.C. | <em>Photo by Josh Harmon</em>

David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, delivers keynote remarks at the fourth U.S.-China Renewable Energy Industries Forum in Washington, D.C. | Photo by Josh Harmon

David Danielson (left), Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, stands with Liang Zhipeng, Deputy Director General of the Department of New and Renewable Energy for China’s National Energy Administration, at the fourth U.S.-China Renewable Energy Industries Forum in Washington, D.C. | <em>Photo by Josh Harmon</em>

David Danielson (left), Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, stands with Liang Zhipeng, Deputy Director General of the Department of New and Renewable Energy for China’s National Energy Administration, at the fourth U.S.-China Renewable Energy Industries Forum in Washington, D.C. | Photo by Josh Harmon

The U.S. and Chinese delegations met at the fourth U.S.-China Renewable Energy Industries Forum in Washington, D.C., to assess ongoing collaborations and explore new opportunities for joint analysis on clean energy. | <em>Photo by Josh Harmon</em>

The U.S. and Chinese delegations met at the fourth U.S.-China Renewable Energy Industries Forum in Washington, D.C., to assess ongoing collaborations and explore new opportunities for joint analysis on clean energy. | Photo by Josh Harmon

David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, delivers keynote remarks at the fourth U.S.-China Renewable Energy Industries Forum in Washington, D.C. | <em>Photo by Josh Harmon</em>
David Danielson (left), Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, stands with Liang Zhipeng, Deputy Director General of the Department of New and Renewable Energy for China’s National Energy Administration, at the fourth U.S.-China Renewable Energy Industries Forum in Washington, D.C. | <em>Photo by Josh Harmon</em>
The U.S. and Chinese delegations met at the fourth U.S.-China Renewable Energy Industries Forum in Washington, D.C., to assess ongoing collaborations and explore new opportunities for joint analysis on clean energy. | <em>Photo by Josh Harmon</em>

Yesterday, I was honored to deliver keynote remarks at the fourth U.S.-China Renewable Energy Industries Forum (REIF) in Washington, D.C. The REIF brought together approximately 150 Chinese and American leaders from business, government, and institutes to assess ongoing collaborations and explore new opportunities for joint analysis on clean energy that can help create jobs, drive economic growth, and address climate change—both in China and in the United States.

In 2009, President Obama and then-President Hu Jintao of China formalized the U.S.-China Renewable Energy Partnership as one of seven announcements promoting clean energy collaboration between the two countries. Under the partnership, the two countries take turns hosting the biennial forum, and this year, the United States was honored to welcome the Chinese delegation to our nation’s capital.

This year’s event was an enormous success. Liang Zhipeng, Deputy Director General of the Department of New and Renewable Energy for China’s National Energy Administration, and I opened the event by emphasizing that both the United States and China must lead global efforts to solve our shared energy and climate challenges. We also spoke about successes in research, policy approaches, and programs that have contributed to the rapid growth in deployment of renewable energy in our countries, and worldwide.

A real highlight of the REIF was the formalization of partnerships through a recognition ceremony. The formal ceremony is of great significance in Chinese culture and helps to cement business and institutional relationships. Three new partnerships were recognized:

  • BrightSource Energy, China Power Investment Corporation, and Shanghai Electric Group Co., Ltd. Signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) covering development of the first commercial scale (270 MW) concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in Qinghai, China, using BrightSource’s technology. The partners plan to commence construction this year, work together to further optimize design, and jointly pursue approval of a government-issued tariff to establish and grow the CSP market in China.
  • First Solar Inc. and China General Certification Center (CGC). CGC issued the Golden Sun Certificate to First Solar. Golden Sun certification is required by the majority of solar photovoltaic developers and customers for projects in China, and is a key step to help First Solar gain market access in China.
  • UL International and China General Certification Center. Signed an MOU covering recognition of each other’s certification and testing services for manufacturers of wind energy equipment for the Chinese market. The partnership could open markets and lower costs for wind energy manufacturers.

The second half of the morning plenary featured a finance panel sponsored by the American Council on Renewable Energy. In the afternoon, the audience split into six interactive breakout sessions, on topics ranging from business and regulatory models to grid integration. In all, there were more than 50 high-level speakers throughout the day.

Additionally, U.S. and Chinese partners released joint analysis in support of the nascent concentrating solar power (CSP) sector in China, as well a new curated online library of grid integration literature to assist U.S. and Chinese policy makers. Several additional joint reports and analysis, produced in collaboration with U.S. and Chinese industry, will be released within the next month.

During their travels in the United States, the Chinese delegation will also tour the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, the world’s largest concentrating solar power plant located in the Mojave Desert in southern California, as well as the equally impressive Crescent Dunes concentrating solar power facility in Nevada. Part of the Chinese delegation will tour Copper Mountain 1, part of a 458 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation facility featuring First Solar modules. An additional tour will include a solar PV-powered microgrid in a housing development of 180 homes in Villa Trieste, Las Vegas. All sites visits will feature American technology and service solutions that can help China meet its aggressive renewable energy deployment targets.

The REIF comes at an exciting time for both our countries. Our leaders recognize that when the U.S. and China take bold steps together, others will follow. So in November 2014 in Beijing, China, President Obama and President Xi of China made a historic joint announcement committing both countries to dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. China’s announcement included a commitment to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to 20 percent by 2030…a significant challenge, and potential global business opportunity, in a country where energy demand is growing rapidly.

Then in April 2015, Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall joined Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on a presidential trade mission focused on introducing our Chinese counterparts to many advanced technologies and the U.S. companies that produce them. Our government leaders traveled to Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou with 24 innovative American companies, meeting Chinese leaders in government and enterprises, with many successful trade outcomes, delivering the technology solutions that China desires.

The REIF helps to advance the President’s Climate Action Plan and National Exports Initiative.  My office looks forward to continuing our work to reduce emissions, promote global deployment of clean energy technologies, facilitate exports, and create American jobs.

EERE’s International Team accelerates the speed and scale of clean energy deployment through international collaboration. Learn more about the office’s work and this project.

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