Clean Tech’s Rise- Two New Issue Briefs from ChinaFAQs

As leaders prepare to meet for the fourth annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) in Beijing this week, ChinaFAQs just released two new issue briefs that explore areas of collaboration between the two nations.

The papers highlight that both the prospect of a $2.2 trillion global market in clean energy by 2020 and expected Chinese investment of $300 billion over the next five years, to meet its ramped-up renewable energy targets in its 12th Five-Year Plan, present a huge opportunity for the U.S. Reaping these benefits will be challenging, but can be fostered by supportive U.S. policies, coupled with collaboration from private industry.

This week’s discussions pose an opportunity for the U.S. and China to manage tensions and nurture a relationship conducive to both nations’ economic and environmental prosperity. Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, expected to become China’s next leader later this year, encouraged the strengthening of the Sino-U.S. relationship earlier this year when he asserted that “in dealing with major and sensitive issues that concern each side's core interests, we must certainly abide by a spirit of mutual respect and handle them prudently."

In light of the many challenges in the U.S.-China relationship that are coming to a head, areas of long-standing cooperation are important to maintain relations and build confidence between the two nations. Clean technology is an example of an area of long-standing and growing cooperation.

These new papers from ChinaFAQs lay out the case for the rising opportunities to generate economic growth, deploy clean energy technology, and strengthen the U.S.-China relationship through continued competition and cooperation. The papers include specific examples and case studies where cooperation is already taking place and where it can be enhanced in the future.

Clean Tech’s Rise, Part I:
Will the U.S. and China Reap the Mutual Benefits?

Competition is intense, with both the U.S. and China investing heavily in clean energy in recent years. According to a just-released analysis by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the U.S. recaptured the lead in clean energy investment in 2011 with $48 billion, while China invested $45.5 billion. Together these represent over one-third of total clean tech investments which reached $263 billion worldwide in 2011.

The first ChinaFAQs issue brief, “Clean Tech’s Rise, Part I: Will the U.S. and China Reap the Mutual Benefits?” highlights opportunities in the global clean energy revolution, discusses the comparative strengths of each nation, and provides examples of proposals and policies that the U.S. can employ to seize these opportunities by encouraging clean energy development. The brief stresses that the U.S. should capitalize on its strengths and take a strategic approach to innovation and commercialization.

American businesses are already engaging with China across a wide range of low-carbon products and services, generating growth and employment benefits in the United States. For example, seeing the vast potential for profit, American companies such as GE, IBM, and Duke Energy have already entered the Chinese clean energy market and established partnerships with Chinese clean tech companies. Over the past year, GE signed five agreements with Chinese partners targeting clean energy and mass transportation, and expects the agreements to generate over $2 billion in revenue, with nearly $1 billion in exports from the U.S. to create and support jobs in both countries.

Dr. Julio Friedman at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory notes that U.S. companies “have been able to build plants, hire people, demonstrate technology, and underwrite projects” and that “these relationships are a pathway for advancing the technologies and lowering their costs.

As interdependent leaders in clean energy, the U.S. and China can reap opportunities in the clean tech market through cooperation and strengthened competitiveness. Furthering this engagement and developing supportive policies on clean tech can generate growth and benefit businesses, workers at home, and the world as a whole.


Clean Tech’s Rise, Part II:
U.S.-China Collaboration in Public-Private Partnerships

Government agencies and companies in the U.S. and China have been cooperating on energy and climate issues for three decades, but the two nations have recently expanded opportunities for collaboration. This move is delivering tangible benefits to both nations and the world at large, including opening new markets for U.S. companies, improving clean technologies, lowering costs for controlling emissions, and generating new opportunities for economic growth and jobs.

The second ChinaFAQs issue brief, “Clean Tech’s Rise, Part II: U.S.-China Collaboration in Public-Private Partnerships,” profiles a selection of recent U.S.-China cooperative projects in clean energy, offering a flavor of the breadth and depth of Sino-American cooperation, as well as potential benefits and challenges.

Speaking at the U.S.-China Strategic Forum on Clean Energy Cooperation last year, former U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman explained, “Cooperation on clean energy is a prime example of where we can further our common interests… and benefit not only our people, but also many throughout the world for decades to come… So when people ask me why we should cooperate with China on clean energy initiatives I say it’s very simple: We are embarking on a technological revolution in clean energy… that will dramatically expand high-quality jobs, living standards, and our economy in the United States.”

Similarly, Jim Rogers, Chairman, President and CEO of Duke Energy, said that “collaboration between our two countries is really critical… collaboration is the only answer in our sector, because we accelerate the benefits for all our people.”

This issue brief profiles four public-private partnerships that demonstrate how we can lower costs and accelerate the development and deployment of clean technologies:

  • The U.S.-China Renewable Energy Partnership (USCREP) is helping U.S. firms gain a foothold in the growing Chinese energy market, and helping curb emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • The U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) is coordinating teams of government, industry, and academic researchers to advance technologies in clean vehicles; carbon capture, utilization and storage; and building energy efficiency, to lower costs and generate new products.
  • The EcoPartnerships program encourages governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to develop projects that help the two nations reach mutually-agreed upon goals in clean air, water, transportation, energy, efficiency, and others.
  • The U.S.-China Energy Cooperation Program (ECP) works to catalyze a wide range of innovative business collaborations between U.S. and Chinese companies in the clean energy sector.

Together, these two papers provide support for the fact that clean energy is an area where there is the potential for cooperation that can help benefit both the economies and environmental conditions. They highlight the need for the U.S. to take the steps necessary to seize the huge opportunities in the growing clean tech market and complementary strengths of the two countries in research and commercialization.


Please download the papers, here:

Clean Tech’s Rise, Part I: Will the U.S. and China Reap the Mutual Benefits?

Clean Tech’s Rise, Part II: U.S.-China Collaboration in Public-Private Partnerships


Image courtesy of le niners and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License.