About the author: Ingrid Larson serves as the Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China.
We were all very excited when Secretary Clinton decided to meet with a group of students at the Taiyanggong power plant. Reaching out to young audiences and students is an important part of a diplomat's work, and the key message on this trip is to emphasize our commitment to clean energy and our recognition that the U.S.A. and China will need to work together to create a sustainable energy future.
The students and experts who participated in the event today are from China's leading environmental and clean energy research institutions. They were very honored to have a role in Secretary Clinton's first visit to China and that their work was being acknowledged in such a public way. The excitement in the room was palpable as the group was waiting for the Secretary and Todd Stern, Special Envoy on Climate Change, to arrive. While we were waiting for the Secretary to finish her tour of the power plant, the students were deciding who would get to ask the first question... They were nervous, but looking forward to a frank conversation with the U.S.A.'s new Secretary of State.
In case our blog readers would like to know a bit more about the power plant and why it is so important, here is some information:
The one-year old Taiyanggong gas-fired plant is an efficient, low-emission power and heat generation project that uses U.S. high-technology equipment -- General Electric (GE) generators and advanced super-critical gas turbines. Taiyanggong is the first power and heat cogeneration plant in China. The power plant produces heat and power with half the emissions and 1/3 the water usage of an equivalent coal plant in China. This plant, and projects like it, draw on the rich resources of both U.S. and Chinese ingenuity, lead to jobs in both countries, and significantly limit our impact on the environment. Taiyanggong is representative of the fact that economic and job growth can go hand-in-hand with pollution reduction and increased energy efficiency.