EXAMPLES OF U.S.-GERMAN COLLABORATION
Mr. Murphy offered two recent examples. The first was “the world’s largest onshore wind energy park,” located on former cotton farmland in Texas. The Rock Hill Wind Farm is owned and operated by the German energy company E.ON, which has installed 600 wind turbines capable of generating over 780 Mw of electricity. The second was the decision of the world’s second-largest photovoltaics manufacturer, First Solar, a U.S. company, to site its main manufacturing plant in Frankfurt on der Oder.5 “Both E.ON and First Solar are shining examples of how innovation can bring new jobs and investments to areas that need them,” he said.
Both countries, he continued, have a long history of robust, bilateral scientific and technological investment. The United States and Germany have similar targets of investing more than 3 percent of GDP in public and private research and development. These investments in basic and applied research create incentives for private innovation. In both countries, the universities, federal labs, and industrial laboratories conduct research that leads to breakthrough products and new companies. German and American counterparts work closely together to foster research and innovation. The Fraunhofer Institutes, for example, have seven research centers in the United States, and the Max Planck Society now has a Center for Bio-Imaging in Tampa, Florida. There are more than 50 bilateral cooperation agreements between individual institutions on topics ranging from earth sciences to energy physics to public health.
As strong and productive as this relationship has been, he said, it is desirable to reinforce and expand both long-standing and more recent connections. The relationship was given a more formal structure through a science and technology agreement signed by the two countries on February 10, 2010, describing an administrative framework for cooperation. The objective is to continue to identify and intensify relations in education and research, to coordinate joint research teams, and to interlink shared national priorities in science policy to the benefit of both sides.
Mr. Murphy pointed to renewable energy as one area where the countries already work together. The United States formally joined the International Renewable Energy Agency, or RENA, on March 4, 2011. In Germany the Bonn Innovation Center for Renewable Energy also opened in 2011, where the United States looks forward to partnering in the development of clean technologies. The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado has been collaborating on solar research with three institutes of the Helmholtz Association since 2008. The partners are seeking to broaden the
5Frankfurt on der Oder, or Frankfurt (Oder), is smaller than Frankfurt am Main and located in the former East Germany on the Oder River, which forms the German-Polish border.