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Blog Category: Clean energy

USTDA Awards Two Clean Energy Grants During India Trade Mission

Henry Steingass (far right), USTDA Regional Director, and Mark Dunn (far left), USTDA Regional Manager, pose for a photo with Commerce Secretary John Bryson during a luncheon in Mumbai Mar. 26, 2012

Guest blog post by U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA)

To support India’s plans to improve energy efficiency throughout the country while opening India’s market for increased U.S. exports of clean energy technologies, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) concluded two grant agreements during Secretary Bryson’s five-day infrastructure trade mission to India. The delegation included 16 U.S. companies and three U.S. agencies, including USTDA.

"India has ambitious energy infrastructure development goals," stated USTDA Regional Director Henry Steingass. "We are pleased to join this trade mission to support those goals, and to help open the market for U.S. clean energy technologies, which are among the best in the world."

India's growing population and rapid economic expansion are placing a strain on the country’s energy infrastructure. Approximately 400 million people do not have grid connectivity, while many households in electrified villages do not have access to grid supply. Growing demand is increasing the frequency of power outages in urban areas as well. In response to these challenges, Indian utility companies are making heavy investments in clean energy infrastructure, and these grants will support those investments while opening the market up for the cutting edge technologies of U.S. clean energy businesses.

The first grant will support a feasibility study for Azure Power, a private sector solar power developer that will assess the development of a rural micro-grid solar power project.  Azure aims to set up over 100 micro-grid solar systems, with each system covering an average of 2-3 acres of rural land with little or no connectivity to existing electrical grids.  The second grant will support a feasibility study for CESC Limited for the implementation of smart grid technologies across their electricity distribution networks in Kolkata, India.  The study will develop a smart grid pilot project as well as the requirements for broad implementation.

These projects respond to the joint commitment made by President Obama and Prime Minister Singh in late 2009 to greatly expand energy efficiency and clean energy cooperation and to form a Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE). In addition to substantial improvements to India’s clean energy infrastructure, successful implementation of these two projects could generate more than $250 million of exports for U.S. companies.

Acting Secretary Blank Visits University of Toledo to Highlight the American Jobs Act

Blank and Dean of College of Business and Innovation Thomas G. Gutteridge

Blank also meets with local business leaders as part of White House Business Council outreach effort

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank today toured the University of Toledo Clean and Alternative Energy Business Incubator, a program that supports collaboration between clean energy companies and the university in order to help grow the clean and alternative energy industry in the region.  Since its opening in 2005, the incubator has had a regional economic impact of more than $700 million.   

At the University of Toledo, Blank discussed details of President Obama’s American Jobs Act.  Blank highlighted the different ways the plan could make an immediate impact on job creation: cutting taxes for small businesses, putting more money in the pockets of consumers through an expanded payroll tax cut, and preventing the layoffs of teachers, firefighters and policemen, while putting construction workers to work through much-needed renovations to school, roads, railways and airports. Blank underlined the need for Congress to act quickly on the bipartisan measures in the Jobs Act.

MBDA Helps Minority-Owned Businesses Win the Future

Workers installing solar panels on reservation building

Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is enabling job creation and growth within minority-owned companies as they expand through innovation and untapped resources. MBDA has 50 business development centers and regional offices throughout the country and is preparing to open its newest business center in Cleveland, Ohio, in September to continue to create an environment for support, technical training and access to capital, contracts and to markets for business owners there.

Knowing that many jobs of the 21st century will be in clean and renewable energy, green technology, and Healthcare IT, the MBDA Business Centers are reaching out to minority-owned firms so they can expand into those new areas and keep communities strong and workers employed.

For example, MBDA client Sacred Power Corporation Inc. based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a Native-American-owned renewable and distributive energy manufacturer. Sacred Power operates on the principle that “the world in which we live can change its current direction and dependence on polluting energy sources and convert to renewable technologies that provide clean, long-term solutions to today’s energy problems.”

Secretary Locke Discusses Small Business Competitiveness at APEC Green Growth Forum, Meets with APEC Trade Ministers

Secretary Locke Delivering the Keynote Remarks at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Small and Medium Enterprise Enhancing Competitiveness through Green Growth Forum

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today delivered keynote remarks at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Small and Medium Enterprise Enhancing Competitiveness through Green Growth Forum in advance of the APEC 2011 SME Ministerial Meeting.  He urged small- and medium-sized businesses throughout the Asia-Pacific region to incorporate green growth strategies into their business development plans to increase their global competitiveness.

The Competitiveness and Green Growth Forum provided an opportunity to discuss ways to help APEC economies incorporate green growth policies into the business development plans of SMEs.  The Forum also paved the groundwork for the APEC SME Ministers’ discussions on green growth-focused technical and financial assistance programs for SMEs.

Locke met with representatives from U.S. companies during a luncheon to highlight how APEC meetings can help connect American companies with public and private sector officials from all the 21 APEC economies and open up more business opportunities.  In 2010, 60 percent of U.S. goods exports were to the APEC economies.

Commerce’s EDA Partners with Fraunhofer USA, Boston City Leaders to Build Sustainable Energy Research and Innovation Center

U.S. Assistant Secretary John Fernandez with Mayor Thomas Menino, Fraunhofer USA, and local leaders at the groundbreaking of the $19.5 million Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems in Boston’s Innovation District.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez was in Boston this week with Mayor Thomas Menino for the groundbreaking of the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems, a sustainable energy research and building innovation center at 5 Channel Center in Boston's Innovation District. The 50,000-square-foot facility will support area entrepreneurs and advance the commercialization of sustainable energy technologies and next-generation building efficiency systems.

Commerce’s Economic Development Administration awarded $3.5 million to Fraunhofer USA in 2009 to support the project, which is expected to create an estimated 180 jobs and generate $30 million in private investment. The applied research facility and building technology showcase will serve as a unique factory of innovation in support of established companies and startups that are developing and demonstrating the next generation of energy efficiency technologies.

Boston city leaders hope the Center will become a living laboratory, attracting building technology pacesetters from around the country and the international business community to demonstrate the future of sustainable buildings. The project serves as an innovation platform for collaborative research and development activities in the region, as well as an enduring pipeline for new technologies and startup companies.

“The U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration is pleased to work with Mayor Thomas Menino, Fraunhofer USA and local leaders to help build the $20 million Center for Sustainable Energy Systems, which will serve as a catalyst for job and economic growth in the region,” Fernandez said. “This smart investment to advance the development of the 5 Channel Center and commercialize sustainable energy technologies and next-generation building efficiency systems will provide a much needed boost to the local economic ecosystem as new businesses are attracted to the community.”

U.S. Commerce Department, NIST Host Standards Setting Forum

The three principal speakers at forum table

Secretary Locke opened a discussion with thought leaders from industry and academia today at the Commerce Department on the federal government’s role in setting, developing, using and adopting standards for critical national needs.

Together with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the department hosted the panel discussion led by Phil Weiser, senior advisor on technology and innovation at the White House National Economic Council. U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra and NIST Director and Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology Patrick Gallagher also participated.

Achieving national priorities – which include a smart grid for electricity distribution, electronic health records, cybersecurity, cloud computing and interoperable emergency communications –depends upon the existence of sound technical standards. The standards being developed through public-private partnerships for these new technology sectors are helping to drive innovation, economic growth and job creation.

The roundtable provided key insights for the National Science and Technology Council's Sub-Committee on Standards, administered by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. NIST, on behalf of the subcommittee, recently published a Federal Register notice seeking input on effective federal participation in standards and conformity assessment activities related to technology.  Learn more at http://www.nist.gov/el/standards_roundtable.cfm.

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Initiative Announced Today

Members of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee MeetToday Secretary Locke joined seven other U.S. government agencies in launching the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Initiative, a coordinated effort to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency exports.

Through the Initiative, the U.S. government will support renewable energy and energy efficiency (RE&EE) exporters by offering new financing products, enhancing market access, increasing trade promotion and improving the delivery of export promotion services to current and future RE&EE companies. The federal government is also launching a new online portal as part of the Initiative to provide renewable energy companies easy access to government export resources, and the Commerce Department is committing to an increased number of RE&EE trade and trade-policy missions.

Energy is a $6 trillion global market, and clean energy is the fastest growing sector.

The Initiative is the federal government’s first-ever coordinated effort to support the promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency exports and is designed to facilitate an increase of RE&EE exports during the next five years, helping to meet the goals of the National Export Initiative and President Obama’s challenge to become the leading exporter of clean energy technologies

Commerce Department’s Clean Technology Trade & Investment Mission Moves to Brussels, Belgium

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Brian McGowan (right) meets with U.S. Ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman at the Ambassador’s residence during the U.S. Cleantech Trade and Investment Mission to Belgium.U.S. community and business delegates participating in the joint U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA)/International Trade Administration (ITA) Clean Technology Trade & Investment Mission moved on to Brussels, Belgium on Thursday after spending three very productive days exploring opportunities to increase exports and attract foreign direct investment in the United States while in Lyon, France at Pollutec, a tradeshow that featured the world's leading international exhibit for the environment and sustainable development markets. 

Upon arriving in Brussels, the delegation participated in a reception hosted by U.S. Ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman at the Ambassador’s residence.  The event, hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce Brussels (AmCham) and Xerox gave the delegates an opportunity to make important international connections with companies involved in the clean technology sector.

Ambassador Gutman; AmCham President Scot Beardsley; EDA Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Brian McGowan; and Xerox Director of Global Services Phillipe Janssens addressed the delegation during the function.

Commerce Department’s Clean Technology Trade & Investment Mission Kicks off in France

Community and Business Delegates of the EDA/ITA Clean Technology Trade and Investment Mission in Lyon, France, with U.S. Ambassador to France Charles Rivkin, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Brian McGowan.The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and International Trade Administration’s (ITA) Commercial Service kicked off its Clean Technology Trade & Investment Mission in Lyon, France, on Monday at Pollutec, a tradeshow that features the world's leading international exhibit for the environment and sustainable development markets. 

The Clean Technology Trade & Investment Mission brings together a mix of U.S. community delegates and businesses to explore overseas opportunities to increase U.S. exports and attract foreign direct investment to the United States, with a focus on advancing the green economy and creating jobs at home. The week-long trip will conclude in Brussels, Belgium, where the delegation will attend a U.S. Embassy reception, NATO cleantech roundtable, and other networking opportunities.

The mission supports President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which aims to help U.S. firms sell their goods and services abroad with a goal of doubling U.S. exports over the next five years in support of several million American jobs.

Click here to read the press release.

Stepping Up Trade Between the U.S. and India Will Mean More Jobs in America and a Better Quality of Life for People in India

Secretary Locke is signing the Energy Cooperation Program MOU with Indian Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia. The ECP is a partnership that brings together U.S. and Indian companies and both two governments to focus on specific projects and initiatives that will develop the clean energy marketplace and help realize its potential within India.

[Upon return from Asia, Secretary Locke wrote this blog post about the importance of the upcoming trade mission to India in February.]

President Obama and members of his Cabinet, including myself, have completed a trip to India to take the relationship between our two countries to a new level. We were there because we see real opportunities -- both for American workers and businesses and the people of India. U.S. firms can work with Indian companies to help meet the ambitious economic and social goals laid out by its government. And we can do that by increasing trade between our nations, selling more of America’s world-class goods and services to businesses and consumers in India.

Two-way trade between our nations last year was $38 billion, and exports to India have quadrupled in the last seven years. I expect this upward trend to continue. But we have to do more to connect U.S. companies with Indian consumers and partner firms. To that end, President Obama and I announced a high-tech trade mission to India in early February, making stops in Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore. Companies interested in participating can visit www.trade.gov/IndiaMission2011 for more information.

As Secretary Chu noted during his trip to India last year, due to the increasing demand for energy by India’s emerging middle class, India could become a major export destination for solar panels and wind turbine components manufactured in the United States. That’s why I’m proud we announced the launch of the Energy Cooperation Program. This partnership brings together U.S. and Indian companies and our two governments to focus on specific projects and initiatives that will develop the clean energy marketplace and help realize its potential within India.

Stepping up trade and collaboration between the U.S. and India will mean more jobs in America and a better quality of life for people throughout this fast-growing democracy at the heart of the Obama administration’s renewed engagement in Asia.