Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Initiative Announced Today

Today, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke [pictured] joined seven other U.S. government agencies in launching a coordinated effort to promote renewable energy and energy-efficiency exports: the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Initiative.

The initiative was developed through the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee Working Group on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, which includes representatives from the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Energy, State, and Agriculture. Other members include the Export-Import Bank of the United States [Ex-Im]; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation [OPIC]; the U.S. Trade and Development Agency; and the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

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 initiative lays the foundation necessary to help U.S. renewable-energy and energy-efficiency companies take better advantage of current market opportunities," Locke explained. "It also positions federal government programs to better support U.S. global competitiveness in these sectors over the long run."

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

The initiative, which is described in a report being released today by the Commerce Department, comes on the heels of formation of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee, which is made up of industry leaders. Locke chaired the committee’s first meeting today. This committee will advise Secretary Locke on the development and implementation of programs and policies that will help to expand the competitiveness of the U.S. renewable-energy and energy-efficiency industries.

This initiative is the U.S. Government’s first-ever coordinated effort to support the promotion of renewable energy and energy-efficiency exports. Through the implementation of 23 inter-agency actions, the initiative 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.

As part of the initiative, the federal government is launching a new online portal to provide renewable-energy companies easy access to U.S. Government export resources. Further, the Commerce Department is committing to an increased number of RE&EE trade and trade-policy missions.

Additionally, the initiative calls for:

* Creation of foreign buyers' guides for U.S. RE&EE technologies;
* Commitment by OPIC to invest an additional $300 million in financing for renewable-resource projects in emerging markets, plus additional new products for energy efficiency-subordinated debt financing and clean-energy technology equipment leasing;
* Streamlining of RE&EE financing applications at both OPIC and Ex-Im;
* Formation of a new subcommittee at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to address market access barriers facing the U.S. RE&EE industry in foreign markets; and
* Expansion of USDA’s Market Access Program [MAP] to include biomass wood pellets. [Currently, the program focuses on biofuel products, but not biomass.]

The report is available for download from the new Web portal at http://export.gov/reee.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce

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