Expert says China, U.S. have plenty to gain from cooperation in smart energy

Source: Xinhua Net

SAN FRANCISCO, March 17 (Xinhua) -- China and the United States have plenty of areas for cooperation in smart energy development and management, an expert on energy development said Saturday.

Tan Jun, a senior researcher with the Global Energy Interconnection Research Institute (GEIRI) North America of the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), said cooperation in smart energy between China and the United States can produce results that benefit both sides.

A group of U.S. and Chinese scholars, experts and entrepreneurs met Saturday in Silicon Valley to discuss opportunities and challenges in smart energy application and building smart villages in the United States and China.

Representatives from Microsoft Corporation, GEIRI North America, and other professionals in the energy industry shared their experience and expertise on developing smart energy at a seminar launched by the U.S.-China Green Energy Council in San Jose, California.

The seminar held two panels for in-depth discussions on the two countries' smart energy cooperation, present and future challenges, artificial intelligent (AI) technology in power development, business development and building smart villages.

Tan said the SGCC has cooperated with some U.S. universities in the development and application of smart and green energy, such as the technology of new energy integration, which aims to better utilize energy storage facilities so that as much new energy as possible can be integrated and transmitted to the power grid.

"We achieved some practical results from the bilaterally beneficial collaboration, such as the faster-than-real-time energy management system, which has been adopted by the State Grid Sichuan Electric Power Company," Tan said.

He noted that California, as the world's fifth-largest economy with 40 million people in North America, has been pursuing an aggressive green energy policy by adopting an ambitious target of mandating 100 percent clean energy by 2045.

The law signed by former California Governor Jerry Brown last year to obtain 100 percent of its electricity from clean sources such as solar, wind, and hydropower kept California at the forefront of addressing climate change and phasing out fossil fuels from power plants.

California's positive approach to new energy can be something worth learning for other economies, Tan said.

Chen Xi, Chief Information Officer of GEIRI North America, said the SGCC, the largest electricity utility company in China, boasts advanced electricity technology and abundant experience in construction of power networks in the world's most populous country.

The United States has accumulated a lot of experience on power markets and the ability of utility companies to make profits, which can be learned by China in developing a better and more efficient power network in the future, Chen said.

Scott Mauvais, director of Microsoft Cities, who spoke on AI for sustainability, elaborated on how to empower every organization to thrive in a resource-constrained world.

He said Microsoft has made a lot of efforts to try to harness the power of AI around sustainability goals.

The participants of the seminar also discussed building smart villages in the United States and China.

Kelly Jiang, a panelist from University of California, Berkley (UC Berkeley), said her team has helped residents of Golden Basin Village, a remote poverty-stricken village in Sichuan Province, Southwest China, start a Smart Village project.

With the assistance and support from Chongqing University, photovoltaic electricity generating facilities have been built in the village, which provide green energy for the households in the area, she said.

She cited an example of a school, where solar panels were installed on top of the roof to offer the school a source of clean energy.

"The project is even making money for the school" after it has sold extra power too much to be consumed by the school alone, Jiang said, adding this is basically a successful poverty-relief project for the villagers.

Jiang said her team composed of dozens of volunteers from UC Berkeley, in partnership of UC Berkeley authorities, will initiate a second Smart Village project in Wuxi County, a poverty-hit area in Chongqing Municipality in late June this year.

Saturday's panel speakers also included Professor Tom Kosnik, a partner of FoundersX Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm dedicated to investment in AI and big data, Zhang Xiaofeng, executive vice president of the U.S.-China Green Energy Council, and Wang Zhiwei, president of GEIRI North America of the SGCC.

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