Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Media Relations (news@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


ORNL helps International Eenergy Development and Trade

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., April 28, 1995 — Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is playing a central role in a new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) mission to encourage energy cooperation and trade with developing nations.

Dr. Thomas J. Wilbanks, corporate research fellow and manager of the Developing Countries program at ORNL, has accompanied Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary to India twice during the past nine months. In addition, Dr. Milton Russell, a collaborating scientist at ORNL and University of Tennessee and director of the Joint Institute for Energy and Environment (JIEE), accompanied O'Leary on her trip to China in February 1995.

"The focus of these trips is on promoting business deals in energy for sustainable development," Wilbanks said. "Since Secretary O'Leary's first trip to India in July 1994, new U.S.-India business deals and other agreements have been signed that have a total value of $9.98 billion, and agreements were signed during the China trip worth $6 billion."

Wilbanks was a member of the official U.S. delegation, led by O'Leary, for the presidential mission on sustainable energy and trade to India, which visited India for an eight-day period last July He was one of only two national laboratory representatives from the United States in the 60-member delegation. He returned to India in February as one of a small number of staff members accompanying the Energy secretary on a follow-up visit.

For DOE's India program, ORNL is coordinating an action plan and consulting with other U.S. government agencies, U.S. business firms and Indian energy officials and companies.

"This ORNL leadership role developed from a commitment in 1982 to become involved in meeting the energy and environmental needs of developing nations," Wilbanks said. "Since then, the laboratory's program has worked in more than 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East."

India is a key country for DOE because it is one of the world's largest markets for energy technologies. With a population of 920 million and a growing economy, it has a particular need to expand its supply of electricity services, and many U.S. firms are interested in investing in electric power plant construction and electricity end uses for the Indian market, such as refrigerators.

"DOE's initiatives have led to an enormous increase in private sector interaction between the United States and India, the world's two largest democracies," Wilbanks said. "We are working to build an enduring partnership between our two countries that is good for sustainable development both here and there."

During O'Leary's return visit to India in February, 23 new agreements were signed. One agreement was between ORNL and the Energy Management Centre of India's Ministry of Power, which is an Indian counterpart of a national laboratory. Wilbanks said this agreement, which promotes energy efficiency cooperation, places ORNL in the forefront among U.S. national laboratories in promoting this type of cooperation.

ORNL, one of DOE's multiprogram national research and development facilities, is managed by Martin Marietta Energy Systems, a Lockheed Martin company, which also manages the Oak Ridge K-25 Site and the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant.