Posted at 10:28 AM
Guest blog post by Andrew Bennett, Senior International Trade Specialist and Renewable Energy Analyst for the International Trade Administration.
Last week, the third annual American Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit brought together the decision makers and the change makers that are driving the development of new technologies and business opportunities in a critical and growing segment of the economy—clean energy. The Department of Commerce was proud to participate in this event, which is led by our colleagues at the U.S. Department of Energy and our private sector partners at the Council on Competitiveness.
The event highlighted the promise of America’s clean energy future, both in terms of the technologies being developed by our innovators and the energy efficiency gains being driven within our factories and businesses. All of these advances are helping us meet our environmental goals, as well as our economic goals.
As Secretary Pritzker stressed in her keynote remarks that opened day two of the summit, the growth of our clean energy manufacturing base depends not only on what we do in the United States, but also on how we capitalize on the opportunities for U.S. businesses to benefit from the massive growth of clean energy markets beyond our borders.
The United States is not alone in striving to fulfill the promise of a 21st century clean energy economy. Around the world, governments, businesses, and citizens are investing in energy infrastructure that is cleaner, more efficient, and more secure. In fact, the demand for clean energy has expanded beyond its traditional markets of North America and Europe, and is now truly global. Last year, 50 percent of the investment in renewable energy was in developing and emerging markets. And over the next five years, the cumulative cross-border trade in clean energy technologies is projected to reach $1.4 trillion.
The Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) is working on multiple fronts to secure and capitalize this opportunity for U.S. businesses.
To start, we’re providing the market intelligence and analytic tools to help public and private sector stakeholders strategically deploy precious resources for international business development. ITA’s Top Markets Reports are a flagship in this effort, and our analysis on export growth opportunities include Top Markets Reports on critical sub-sectors to the clean energy economy including environmental technologies, renewable energy, and smart grid.
ITA is also working to ensure that global trade policies and trade agreements are as open and innovative as the technologies that are transforming global energy supplies. That’s why the Obama administration is negotiating tough, modern trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. We’re also working with the world’s major traders of environmental goods to negotiate an agreement in the World Trade Organization (WTO) to eliminate tariffs on the products that reduce carbon emissions, increase energy efficiency, and help protect and preserve environmental resources. Our goal is to expand global consumer access to clean energy and environmental solutions, while reducing the costs for the exporters and the workers who develop these products.
Additionally, ITA’s trade promotion services are working to help connect U.S. clean energy manufacturers to foreign buyers across the globe. Over the last year alone, the Department of Commerce has led six trade missions designed to develop international business partnerships for U.S. companies that provide clean and efficient energy infrastructure solutions including manufacturers and service providers of solar, wind, and other renewable energy technologies and smart grid; energy efficiency; and environmental technologies. In 2016, our work to expand the U.S. manufacturing base through export-driven growth in key markets continues with our Smart Cities Infrastructure Business Development Mission to India.
We’re also advancing our efforts to boost U.S. competitiveness in clean energy manufacturing at one of the world’s biggest stages for trade promotion—Hannover Messe in Germany. With nearly a quarter million visitors, this is the largest global trade show, and next year, the United States is a partner country. This means increased visibility and an increased commitment by the U.S. government. The U.S. pavilions at the show will be bigger than ever, and will include a focus on industries driving energy efficiency gains and environmental benefits, including industrial automation, smart manufacturing, renewable energy and smart grid technologies.
All of these activities sum up our work to grow the “demand side” of the global clean energy economy and ensure that U.S. exporters are the suppliers. Demand won’t be slowing down any time soon, so we’ll be working hard to keep up.