President Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao of the People's Republic of China embrace following a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington on January 19, 2011. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo
BEIJING, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- China and the United States signed $13 billion worth of energy deals on Tuesday, coinciding with Chinese President Hu Jintao's state visit to the United States.
The deals were announced at the Second China-US Strategic Forum on Clean Energy Cooperation in Washington, a gathering of government leaders, business executives and experts from both countries. The first meeting took place in Beijing in 2009.
At the forum, GE announced that it would work with China Huadian Corp. on distributed energy combined heat and power projects throughout China.
As part of the five-year partnership with Huadian, China is expected to buy at least 50 gas turbine generator sets from GE. Of the $500 million in expected sales, U.S. exports will account for $350 million, GE said.
The company added that exports associated with the partnership could support 2,100 jobs in the United States, based on a U.S. Commerce Department estimate.
Also among the deals announced at the forum, Westinghouse Electric Company extended its nuclear power cooperation agreement with China's State Nuclear Power Technology Co. Ltd. for two years. The deal enables Westinghouse to continue its operation of a nuclear power plant in China.
Aris Candris, chief executive officer and president of Westinghouse, told the newspaper that the development of nuclear reactors in China has created more than 5,000 jobs for Westinghouse and its supply chain in the United States.
Also at the forum, Alcoa Inc. and China Power Investment Corp. signed deals on a range of aluminum and clean energy projects worth about $7.5 billion, the newspaper reported.
Chai Sangyue, president of the China Energy Research Society, told the forum that although the country has made improvements in energy efficiency, China could be using half of the world's energy by 2050, due to its continued growth. "This is going to impose tremendous pressure on resources and the environment,'' he said, The New York Times reports.
Zhang Guobao, head of the China's National Energy Administration told those gathered that China must embark "on a low-carbon road" and increase its energy efficiency while reducing the intensity of carbon emissions per unit of gross domestic product.
China, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, pledged in 2009 to slash its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 from the 2005 level.
A U.S.-China joint statement from the White House on Wednesday said the two countries "view climate change and energy security as two of the greatest challenges of our time."