USTDA Speeches
U.S.-ASEAN Smart Grid Workshop - Opening Remarks
Hanoi, Vietnam
The Honorable Leocadia I. Zak, U.S. Trade and Development Agency

November 13, 2012— Good morning everyone, and thank you Henry for the kind welcome and the introduction for today's Workshop.

On behalf of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, I am pleased to welcome you all to the opening of the U.S.-ASEAN Smart Grid Workshop.

I want to take a minute to acknowledge our distinguished delegates and guests from throughout the ASEAN region. We have representatives from: Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore. I would also like to acknowledge our partners from the U.S. private and public sectors. -- Thank you for being here.--

I am especially pleased to share the podium today with our Ambassador to Vietnam, David Shear, and with Chairman Dang Phan Tuong (DANG FAN TWONG) of Vietnam's National Power Transmission Corporation, two important partners both for our work in Vietnam, and for this timely regional Workshop.

Today is an important time for the growth of electric power infrastructure in ASEAN. As the ASEAN region continues to see strong economic growth, the demand for reliable affordable power throughout ASEAN countries is also growing. Implementation of smart grid technology is clearly a way to meet this demand.

We all know, smart grid technologies help to conserve energy, save money, and reduce emissions of harmful pollutants. In addition, they provide a greater level of information and control to customers. The result is a safer and more reliable electricity network, which drives down costs for households and businesses. Perhaps even more importantly, however, with the implementation of smart grid technologies you can meet the demands of your customers -- now vs. waiting for new power generation to come on line.

This means that all over the region, investments are being made in new and improved infrastructure: including, transmission systems, distribution systems, and smart grid technologies. Already ASEAN members are making efforts to adjust and adapt to the new energy environment. By signing the Memorandum of Understanding on the ASEAN Power Grid, ASEAN members have taken an important step in developing a common ASEAN policy on power interconnection and trade for increased energy security. We commend you for this tremendous accomplishment.

It is my hope that this workshop and our larger U.S.-ASEAN Connectivity Cooperation Initiative can build upon what you have already begun. The Interconnectivety Initiative, which is linking ASEAN with the United States in new and creative ways, was announced by President Obama during the U.S.-ASEAN Leaders' Meeting last November in Bali. -- And as you may know, President Obama will be back later this month, again engaging the region, to find areas for closer economic cooperation and connectivity. I am certain that energy will be an important focus of those discussions.

Therefore, the timing of this event could not be better. It will give us, who are here today, an opportunity to work together to discuss and share ideas to move smart grid technology development and implementation forward.

So--what role does USTDA play?

USTDA is an independent U.S. government agency designed to create partnerships between U.S. companies and overseas partners that will drive economic development and generate trade and growth. As a result, we are the lead agency of the U.S. - ASEAN Interconnectivety Cooperation Initiative. Furthermore,with respect to energy, in the past few years alone, USTDA supported numerous projects to connect the U.S. private sector to countries around the world with rapidly expanding clean energy markets. We accomplish this by two principal means: our Project Development Program, and our International Business Partnership Program.

Under the Project Development Program, USTDA provides grants directly to overseas project sponsors- these project sponsors can be either public sector or private sector- for priority development projects in their countries. The funding may be used to provide technical assistance, perform a feasibility study, or to launch a pilot project.

For example, a USTDA-funded feasibility study for Thailand's Metropolitan Electricity Authority resulted in the implementation of advanced SCADA systems in MEA's network. Similarly, in the Philippines, as a result of a USTDA-supported technical assistance program, Meralco was able to modernize its system by implementing SCADA and distribution automation systems.

Under the International Business Partnership Program, USTDA directly connects international project sponsors with U.S. providers of goods and services, to achieve rapid results. We do this by sponsoring training programs, bringing delegations of project leaders from other countries on visits to the United States, and of course, hosting conferences and dialogues such as this.

For example, in 2011, USTDA hosted a delegation from National Power Transmission Corporation of Vietnam interested in power transmission technologies. The visit was designed in response to NPT's request to introduce their employees to U.S. service and technology providers in the energy sector with an emphasis on smart grid solutions.

Since that visit, NPT and GE signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on a pilot project to install GE's relay system on NPT's network. Also, this past July, GE and NPT signed a contract for GE's capacitor banks, which will effectively double Vietnam's existing power capacity through the upgrade of the Pleiku–Phu Lam (PLAY KU FOOL UM) transmission line -- the backbone of Vietnam's North-to-South power transmission network. We are thrilled to see this partnership grow, and we are honored to have played a part in building this cooperation.

To build on this success in the region, USTDA's will be supporting a new and exciting information technology and smart grid roadmap project with our host the National Power Transmission Corporation. NPT recognizes the need to create an enterproise architecture and technology roadmap that will facilitate both scalability and flexibility at a rapid growth. This technicl assistance project will help NPT plan for an integrated IT enterprise to manage its entire operations form power transmission to back office functions in support of its core mission. Tangible International of Virginia, will lead the team of experts on this project. As part of the project, the Tangible team will deploy a demonstration project using OSiSoft's Industrial Unified Communications (IUC) System. The system will provide real time operational awareness – through telecommunications - that will enable NPT to act on time-sensitive situations such as line congestion or power fluctuations on its large and geographically disbursed power grid.

We see tremendous opportunities for similar cooperation with U.S. companies as ASEAN economies plan for greater connectivity. Our corporate sponsors here today (Oracle, Emeter, OSISoft, GE, Trilliant, Applied Materials, CTC Global and Schweitzer Engineering) and our other U.S. industry delegates present excellent examples of U.S. companies that are anxious to work closely with our ASEAN partners to develop and strengthen ASEAN Connectivity.

I will close by noting again the importance we place on closer cooperation with ASEAN and increasing the connectivity among the ASEAN members and with the United States. As the energy needs of our countries continue to grow, it becomes more important every day that we are investing in efficient energy infrastructure that minimizes environmental impacts and can keep up with our expanding economies.

Together, we can build the relationships and share the knowledge necessary to accomplish ASEAN's power infrastructure goals. I am looking forward to our discussions today and tomorrow, as well as the ongoing partnerships we will foster. Thank you very much.

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