WASHINGTON, July 8 (Reuters) - The United States and China on Tuesday signed eight partnership agreements to cut greenhouse gases, bringing the world's two biggest carbon emitters closer together on climate policy.
The agreements, which involve companies and research institutions, were signed in Beijing ahead of a two-day visit to China by top Obama administration officials including Secretary of State John Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Todd Stern, the lead U.S. climate treaty negotiator at the U.S. State Department, Obama adviser John Podesta and Lee Zak, director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, attended the signing.
In one of the memoranda of understanding (MOUs), China's Huaneng Clean Energy Research Institute, a subsidiary of state-owned power company China Huaneng and Washington-based Summit Power Group agreed to share information on clean coal power generation technology.
Huaneng is part of a Chinese consortium operating a 400 megawatt pilot integrated gasification combined cycle plant in Tianjin.
Under the MOU, Huaneng will share information with Summit Power, which is expected to soon break ground on a similar project in Texas after it secures engineering and procurement support from Petrochina and Chinese engineering firm Huanqiu Contracting and Engineering.
That MOU is expected to be signed Wednesday in Beijing.
Summit, in turn, will share information and technology for recovering oil from captured carbon.
"This [partnership between Summit and Huaneng] accelerates sharing of information on carbon capture and storage for power," said Julio Friedmann, deputy assistant Secretary for Clean Coal for the U.S. Department of Energy.
Laura Miller, a former mayor of Dallas who now manages the Texas Clean Energy Project, said in an interview the partnership will be a boon to both countries.
"We will be sharing expertise, years of development experience and non-proprietary technology on both projects, all while making giant steps forward for the world's environment," she said.
In another project, West Virginia University will partner with Yanchang Petroleum on an industrialized demonstration of ultra-cleaning technology in northern Shaanxi province.
Another coal state university, the University of Kentucky, will partner with Shanxi Coal International Energy Group and Air Products and Chemicals Inc on a project feasibility study of a 350MW supercritical coal-fired power plant that can capture 2 million tonnes of CO2 annually.
Xie Zhenhua of the NDRC told Chinese media on Tuesday that wider bilateral talks would include a special high-level meeting on climate change, focused on discussing domestic and international policies and possible cooperation.
The U.S. delegation is in China for the sixth round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, high-level meetings focusing on areas of cooperation ranging from security to agriculture. (Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; additional reporting by Kathy Chen in Beijing; editing by Ros Krasny)