of the climate challenge, there is now an additional impetus for them to continue and even enhance collaboration.

Although other countries have led the way in the early development and deployment of renewable energy resources, the United States and China are poised to become the largest markets for the deployment of renewable energy in the coming years. In 2008, they became the two largest wind power markets in the world (with China outpacing the United States in capacity additions for 2009), and they are expected to remain so for years to come. Although the United States is ahead of China in solar deployment, China leads in solar PV production, and recent government signals in China have indicated a commitment to expanding the domestic use of solar technologies.

Working together, the United States and China can lead the world toward a sustainable energy future. The widespread global deployment of renewable technologies, which will be crucial to reducing human-induced climate change in the future, is unlikely to happen without leadership from the world’s two largest energy economies. Both countries are working hard to expand the development and deployment of renewables, but better coordination and more collaboration could accelerate these trends.


The United States and China have a long history of bilateral cooperation on renewable energy technologies and policy, both through official government channels and among universities and nongovernmental organizations. Some examples of this historical and ongoing cooperation are described below. (A more comprehensive list of official collaborations on energy and climate change is provided in Appendix A.)

Official Bilateral Cooperation

In 1979, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Bilateral Energy Agreements was signed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Chinese State Development Planning Commission (SDPC); the MOU led to 19 cooperative agreements on energy, both conventional and renewable. Almost two decades later, in 1995, DOE signed bilateral agreements with: the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture on renewable energy, the State Science and Technology Commission (SSTC) on renewable energy technology development; and the State Planning Commission (SPC) to establish a plan for mapping China’s renewable energy resources and develop strategies for financing U.S. renewable energy projects in China (this agreement also involved Chinese and U.S. export-import banks).

In 1995–1996, the Protocol for Cooperation in the Fields of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technology Development and Utilization was signed by DOE and various Chinese ministries. This Protocol has seven annexes: policy, rural

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