Renewable Energy Resources and Related Sustainability Issues in the U.S. – A Project for the People’s Republic of China

On Monday, August 14 Meridian International Center welcomed 8 visitors from the People's Republic of China for a three week long International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Made up of educators, journalists, and researchers, the group participated in the program to learn about renewable energy resources and sustainability issues in the U.S. During this IVLP the participants examined the current energy supply, demand, and production in the U.S.; reviewed U.S. national energy policy and approaches to securing energy resources; and explored the development of new energy sources while promoting affordable alternatives to traditional sources. The participants convened in Washington, DC and took a day trip to Annapolis and Baltimore before departing for New York, NY; Burlington, VT; Tampa, FL; Little Rock, AR; Sacramento, CA; and San Francisco, CA.

While in Washington, the group had the opportunity to meet with former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening - now President of the Smart Growth America Leadership Institute - at a State Department sponsored lunch and discuss the U.S. experience in clean energy resource development. In addition, the participants were given an introduction to the U.S. federalist system of government; met with a representative from the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office; and spoke with an agent from American Waste to Energy, an organization that takes solid waste from local municipalities and processes it into an energy efficient synthetic gas. Other appointments were arranged with the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, the Stella Group, Ltd., and the American Council on Renewable Energy before the group set off for Annapolis and Baltimore. Their appointments in the two cities included a meeting at and tour of the Maryland State Capitol, representatives from the Maryland Clean Energy Center, and the Baltimore Refuse Energy Systems Company. After a brief meeting with the State Department the following day, the group traveled to New York for a weekend of cultural activities and then Burlington for professional meetings.

In Burlington, the participants had a chance to visit Audet's Blue Spruce Farm, where more than 1,500 cows produce 3.6 million gallons of milk per year and cow waste is converted to energy via a "biodigester"; discuss interaction among various levels of government on environmental policy with the Burlington Electric Department; and learn from a staff member about Senator Patrick Leahy's (D-VT) efforts to support renewable energy and energy conservation techniques. After an evening of home hospitality, the visitors traveled to Tampa, where the local program contact organized meetings with representatives from the Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Facility, staff from the University of South Florida Clean Energy Research Center, and a St. Petersburg City Council Member of the Committee on Energy, Natural resources, and Sustainability. After a hosted dinner, the group flew to Little Rock.

Our partner in Little Rock programmed an itinerary that included a half-day trip to Pine Bluff to visit Highland Pellets, a supplier of sustainable sourced biomass, and tours of several Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) buildings in the area. Another evening of home hospitality brought the local itinerary to a conclusion, and the group subsequently moved on to Sacramento. There, the group met with the Governor's Office of Planning and Research; Sierra Energy, a non-governmental agency that focuses on helping U.S. government agencies reach any goals set; and the California Energy Commission, which is primarily responsible for creating and planning energy policy for the State of California. After a day of programming, the participants set off for a day of cultural activities in San Francisco before flying home.

Sponsors

International Visitor Leadership Program, U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State

Project summary

Renewable Energy Resources and Related Sustainability Issues in the U.S. – A Project for the People’s Republic of China
Number of Visitors: 8
Regions: East Asia and Pacific
Countries: China
Impact Areas: Energy and the Environment
Program Areas: Exchanges
Partners: NGOs, Private Sector, Public Sector