pursuing similar goals, under the more general goal of sustainably meeting its growing energy demand and avoiding the environmentally unsustainable trajectory followed by many industrialized nations.
Working cooperatively to develop and deploy renewable power generation technologies makes strategic sense for both countries. First, the United States and China have a 30-year history of collaborating on renewable energy, although the level of activity has ebbed and flowed. Second, each country has unique strengths that have helped the other achieve its current level of renewable power deployment. U.S. innovations in many key renewable power technologies have influenced the industry for decades; China’s manufacturing capacity has brought down the cost of some technologies thus making them more cost competitive. Third, by working together the United States and China have an opportunity to accelerate the deployment of renewable power technologies and substantially reduce GHG emissions, thereby gaining international recognition for their accomplishments.
In the past decade, the U.S. and Chinese Academies of Sciences and Engineering have jointly conducted and published several bilateral studies on energy and the environment (CAE/NAE/NRC, 2003; NAE/NRC/CAE/CAS, 2007; NRC/CAS/CAE, 2000; NRC/NAE/CAS/CAE, 2004). These reports have benefitted national policy makers, academic researchers, environmental managers, industries, and local decision makers and have influenced public policy, such as China’s recent decision to pursue a regional air-quality management strategy and to regulate emissions of ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5).
In 2008, the four academies agreed to cooperate on the present study on producing and deploying electricity from renewable resources. Since December of that year, expert committees from both countries have held meetings and conducted site visits to gain a better understanding of the complex, on-the-ground challenges facing them and as a basis for setting priorities for further cooperation between the United States and China, and by extension, the broader, global clean-energy community.
Specifically, the committees were charged with providing a report that would (1) assist both countries in developing strategies to meet renewable energy goals, (2) highlight prospects for technology collaboration, and (3) identify areas for future cooperation. In pursuit of these goals, the study includes discussions of the following topics:
a comparative assessment of resource potential for grid-scale electricity generation in China and the United States
near-term market opportunities for mature technologies
priorities for further collaboration, with an emphasis on cost reduction, increased efficiency and grid connectivity, and energy storage
In addressing grid-scale electricity generation, the study focuses much attention on three major resources—wind, solar, and biomass—for near-term com-