Archive for the ‘Environment and Renewable Energy’ Category

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Online Toolkit Helps U.S. Manufacturers Go Green

November 1, 2011

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The Sustainable Manufacturing Toolkit, a new, free online resource developed with input from the International Trade Administration, can help U.S. businesses measure their environmental performance and thereby become more competitive.

by John Ward, a writer in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs.

This start-up guide is part of the new Sustainable Manufacturing Toolkit, an online resource created with input from the International Trade Administration.

This start-up guide is part of the new Sustainable Manufacturing Toolkit, an online resource created with input from the International Trade Administration.

Sustainable manufacturing—that is, the creation of products in an environmentally and socially responsible manner—has become a business buzzword lately. But as companies face increased costs for materials, energy, and regulatory compliance, sustainable manufacturing has also come to be recognized as a smart business practice, as more and more manufacturers realize that “greening” their processes can be a key strategy for achieving global competitiveness.

It was in response to a dearth of internationally comparable performance indicators for sustainable manufacturing that the International Trade Administration (ITA) joined with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an international body headquartered in Paris, France, to develop the recently released Sustainable Manufacturing Toolkit.

Guide and Portal

The toolkit consists of two parts: a 52-page start-up guide, which provides a step-by-step approach to measuring and benchmarking environmental performance, and a web portal, which supplements the guide with more technical guidance, data tools, and useful links.

The heart of the start-up guide is a series of seven steps that companies can take to prepare, measure, and improve their sustainable manufacturing processes. The discussion of these steps is enhanced by seven “good practice” profiles that highlight successful efforts undertaken by manufacturers from around the world, including three located in the United States.

The inclusion of the real-world examples is an important element, notes Andrew Wyckoff, director of the OECD’s Directorate for Science, Technology, and Industry. “We think it is important for [companies] to have the right tools, but also to be informed about what works. That’s why we have included .… [these] best practice case studies that illustrate the many benefits of sustainable manufacturing.”

How to Access the Toolkit

The Sustainable Manufacturing Toolkit is available online at www.oecd.org/innovation/green/toolkit. Resources available on the site include a downloadable booklet, Start-up Guide: Seven Steps to Environmental Excellence, as well as a variety of links to technical advice and examples of good practices.

Focus on Needs of Smaller Enterprises

The global market for low-carbon products already exceeds $5 trillion, according to the OECD. Companies that can demonstrate green credentials will enhance their viability in the marketplace. But this can prove a particularly daunting challenge to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). According to the OECD’s Wyckoff, while SMEs account for approximately 99 percent of all enterprises, and two-thirds of employment, in the 34 countries that are members of the OECD, many have not yet embraced the opportunities that come with the adaptation of sustainable manufacturing processes. “They may be struggling with their short-term survival, or cost pressure from clients, or lack of knowledge and resources to invest in environmental improvement, or simply not know where to start.” Thus, the toolkit was especially designed with the needs of small manufacturers in mind.

Close Collaboration

The development of the toolkit was the result of a close collaboration between ITA and the OECD that began in 2006. The OECD was well situated to develop the toolkit due to its access to a wide array of public and private stakeholders and its unique collection of statistical data from around the world. This allowed for an unparalleled degree of comparability and applicability across borders.

For its part, ITA was able to draw on the knowledge and experiences of a large number of U.S. experts through its leadership in the OECD’s Committee on Industry, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. By providing access to both business practitioners and academic specialists active in the field of sustainable manufacturing, ITA was able to facilitate the development and refinement of the toolkit, thus assuring that it was both user-friendly and met the real needs of industry.

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Things are “Greener” on the Other Side: Under Secretary Francisco Sánchez Promotes Renewable Energy Policy in Mexico

September 27, 2011

Carrie Bevis is an intern in the International Trade Administration’sOffice of Public Affairs. She is a second-year student at the University of Virginia.

Things are starting to look “greener” on the other side – of the U.S.-Mexico border that is! This week, our Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez promoted partnerships between U.S. companies and Mexican officials in an effort to advance Mexico’s clean energy goals and create export opportunities for U.S. companies. Under Secretary Sánchez was joined by 26 senior-level U.S. business executives from 19 U.S. clean energy companies for two days of policy discussions with key Mexican officials focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency policy development.

The policy visit was developed through the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Initiative (RE4I), which is led by ITA’s Manufacturing and Services unit. In the RE4I, ITA committed to creating new markets for U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency exports through trade policy missions.

Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez (right) meets with members of the USA Pavilion at GREEN Expo in Mexico

Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez (right) meets with members of the USA Pavilion at GREEN Expo in Mexico

Given Mexico’s proximity to the United States and its resource potential, few markets offer as much potential for future U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency exports as Mexico. However, despite high-level political support, relatively little development has taken place in the sector to date. Mexico currently generates only 2% of its electricity from renewable energy sources – mostly from hydropower.

 “We are pleased to see this initiative begin to manifest itself through deeper cooperation with such a valuable trading partner,” announced Matt Card, Suniva’s Vice-President of Sales for the Americas at the event. “Roundtables such as this are a vital component in the growth of the strong economic and job-creation engine that renewable energy potentially represents to both our countries.”

While in Mexico, Under Secretary Sánchez also took part in the 19th annual GREEN (Global Resources Environmental & Energy Network) Expo. The GREEN Expo hosted four main exhibits including Enviro Pro, focused on Mexico’s environmental sector, Power Mex Clean Energy and Efficiency, targeting clean energy companies; Water Mex, centered on sustainable and clean water consumption; and Green City, aimed at green urban development projects. The four exhibits attracted several U.S. companies spanning the clean energy industry.

During his visit, Under Secretary Sánchez touched on the multiple benefits of increased renewable energy and energy efficiency exports, stating, “For Mexico, and the rest of the world, clean energy technologies present a unique opportunity to achieve the triple bottom line: profits for businesses, jobs for people and a healthier planet for all.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Promoting Green Growth in APEC by Removing Barriers to Trade in Clean Energy Technologies

September 19, 2011

Ryan Mulholland is an International Trade Specialist within the International Trade Administration. His focus is renewable energy and energy efficiency.

In the decades ahead, millions of people will migrate from rural communities to the burgeoning urban centers of the Asia-Pacific. The new urban dwellers will demand electricity to help start business, power modern amenities, and promote a rising standard of living.

Already the 21 economies of APEC account for 40 percent of the world’s population and more than half (54%) of the world’s gross domestic product. The APEC economies account for an even larger share of the world’s energy consumption (60%), yet based on the region’s future growth the region will likely increase its proportion of the global energy demand in the coming decades and will likely be disproportionately affected by the adverse effects of climate change.

While daunting, the challenges presented by these facts represent an opportunity for the Asia-Pacific region. Working together, the 21 APEC economies could utilize their abundance of renewable energy potential and existing manufacturing capacity to become a leader in clean energy trade – particularly solar energy.

To help facilitate trade in solar energy technologies, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and  International Trade Administration, with funding from U.S. AID and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the support of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Intertek and the U.S. Department of Energy, hosted an APEC Conference on Facilitating Trade in Solar Technologies through Standards and Conformity Assessment.

The conference was part of APEC’s Senior Official’s Meeting in San Francisco and will be followed by a more specific conference in Chinese Taipei focused on performance and durability of solar photovoltaics. The results of the APEC Solar Technologies Survey were presented at this conference by Underwriters Laboratories, who led the organization of a survey completed by 15 of the 21 economies.  The survey laid out the regulatory landscape and other voluntary and mandatory measures being implemented for solar technologies in the APEC Region.

As Matthew McGuire, director of Commerce’s Office of Business Liaison noted during the conference, “rather than developing our solar industries separately, we must collaborate. These technologies are too important to our collective futures to not work together.”

The APEC accounts for nearly 90 percent of the world’s solar manufacturing capacity for photovoltaic cells and modules. The APEC region enjoys some of the best solar locations in the world. But much more can be done. Rather than developing solar industries separately with trade barriers erected to keep foreign products out, the APEC economies can capitalize on their existing advantages and become an example to the rest of the world.

Use of international standards, for example, could be adopted and aligned in the Asian Pacific. Greater acceptance of third-party certification among APEC economies is also a goal. These types of changes could facilitate trade and help to reduce the unnecessary costs associated with manufacturing products to different standards for different markets.

The San Francisco conference sought to address a simple truth: without quality performance standards, consumers of solar energy products must bet on unfamiliar technologies without knowing if they will work as promised. When a consumer’s initial exposure to solar energy is so important, the lack of performance standards can lead to the proliferation of illusory bargains where cheap products hide their high maintenance costs and short product life and ultimately could taint any future use of solar energy.

Several private sector participants took part in the conference, including Eric Hafter from Sharp Solar Energy Solutions and Keith Williams from Underwriters Laboratories. Schneider Electric, Dupont Photovoltaic Solutions, Western Renewables Group, Intertek, and Satcon Technology Corporation also took part in the conference.

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Featured Trade Event: Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Executive Business Development Mission

September 9, 2011

December 5–9
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Executive Business Development Mission
Ankara, Istanbul, and Izmir, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey: the blue mosque and Hagia Sofia at sunset (© yusuf anil akduygu/iStock)

Istanbul, Turkey: the blue mosque and Hagia Sofia at sunset (© yusuf anil akduygu/iStock)

In 2010, the federal government’s Renewable Energy Export Initiative identified Turkey as a priority market for U.S. exporters in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries. This mission will focus on opportunities for U.S. companies active in those fields. Francisco Sánchez, under secretary for international trade, will lead the event and will be accompanied by a senior representative from the U.S. Export–Import Bank and participants from 15 to 20 U.S. firms.

Turkey’s market is ripe with possibilities for U.S. companies selling renewable energy and energy efficiency products and services. Energy demand in Turkey is expected to grow between 5 and 7 percent annually until 2023. Such growth will require more than $100 billion of investment in power generation, transmission, and distribution. Turkey already has several large geothermal, wind energy, and hydroelectric projects in development and has enacted renewable energy and energy efficiency laws that call for increased investment in those technologies.

Overall, Turkey is a fertile and growing market for U.S. exports. In 2010, the United States exported more than $10 billion in goods to Turkey, a 40 percent increase over 2009. The Department of Commerce projects that this trend will continue in 2011, with U.S. exports to Turkey expected to reach $12 billion.

Participants in the trade mission will benefit from a variety of events tailored to their needs, including 10 to 15 prescheduled meetings with potential partners, distributors, and end users; a networking reception at the U.S. ambassador’s residence; one-on-one meetings with key government decisionmakers; and briefings by energy specialists from the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS) in Ankara, Istanbul, and Izmir.

The cost to participate in the trade mission is $4,055 for large firms and $3,285 for small and medium-sized firms (with 500 employees or fewer). There is a $500 fee for each additional company representative, regardless of company size. Mission participants are responsible for travel, lodging, most meals, and incidentals. Applications must be received by October 17, 2011. For more information about the trade mission, visit its Web site or contact Glen Roberts of the USFCS, tel.: (559) 348-9859; e-mail: glen.roberts@trade.gov, or Serdar Cetinkaya of the USFCS, tel.: +90 (312) 457 7203; e-mail: serdar.cetinkaya@trade.gov.

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Alternative Aviation Fuels Create Big Buzz at 2011 Paris Air Show

July 1, 2011
This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale is Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services (MAS) within the International Trade Administration (ITA).

The Paris Air Show once again proved to be an exciting venue for innovative technologies, particularly alternative fuels.  A highlight of the show was the Alternative Aviation Fuels Showcase, hosted in the U.S. Pavilion.  In addition to myself and Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez, a number of senior U.S. government officials, including Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, stopped by the booth to chat with U.S. companies about their new technologies.

The Showcase was the center of attention on Wednesday, when the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) and Kallman Worldwide hosted an entire day dedicated to attracting investment for the commercial production of alternative jet fuels.  My Aerospace Team has been collaborating with CAAFI and Kallman for six months to promote this event.  Their efforts proved very successful — over 100 people attended various portions of the day’s events, which included panels on the investment community’s perspective on alternative fuels and on government programs supporting biofuel development.

During my remarks at the Showcase’s investment day, I had the pleasure of introducing Barry Johnson, the recently appointed head of the new SelectUSA initiative, a government-wide initiative housed in the Department of Commerce.  President Obama created SelectUSA on June 17 to showcase the United States and encourage, facilitate, and accelerate business investment in the United States.

Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez (left), ITA Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale (right) and AltAir Founder and CEO Tom Todaro (middle) at the Alternative Aviation Fuels Showcase at the 2011 Paris Air Show.  Photo Courtesy of Kallman Worldwide.

Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez (left), ITA Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale (right) and AltAir Founder and CEO Tom Todaro (middle) at the Alternative Aviation Fuels Showcase at the 2011 Paris Air Show. Photo Courtesy of Kallman Worldwide.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack earned the distinction as the first U.S. Agriculture Secretary to attend a Paris Air Show.  In his remarks to aviation business leaders, Secretary Vilsack indicated that President Obama is planning a major announcement in the “next 30 days or so” regarding the U.S. government’s effort to help develop biofuel.  The Secretary also highlighted U.S. government support for aviation alternative fuels through USDA’s memoranda of understanding with several government and aviation-related agencies, including the Department of Energy, the Air Transport Association, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the U.S. Navy, on efforts to research and develop renewable energy and the infrastructure to support it.

Throughout the week there were a number of exciting announcements related to alternative fuels.  U.S. company Gulfstream completed the first non-stop transatlantic flight using a 50/50 blend of biofuel and petroleum fuel.  The Gulfstream G450 is the first business jet powered by a biofuel and the flight set a record as the first biofuel-powered transatlantic flight.  Later that week, Boeing flew its 747-800 using a fuel with a 15 percent blend of bio to petroleum fuel.  Both fuels were produced by Honeywell Aerospace.  In addition, seven airlines signed letters of intent to negotiate purchase of biomass-derived jet fuel from California-based Solena Fuels.  Another U.S. company, Sapphire Energy, announced that it will produce 20,000 barrels of algae-based jet fuel in two years with the goal of producing at commercially viable levels within seven years.

The companies in the Showcase promoted biofuels as a technically viable replacement for conventional petroleum jet fuels and as a way to help the airline industry reduce its carbon footprint.  In fact, alternative jet fuels could soon be used to power commercial flights.  This summer the standard setting body, ASTM International, is widely expected to certify Hydrotreated Renewable Jet (HRJ) fuel.  HRJ is processed from weedy plants and animal fats and is chemically identical to the crude oil that runs today’s flights.  Following ASTM certification, companies would have a greater incentive to build bio-refineries to produce HRJ fuel on a commercial scale.  In addition to HRJ, another pathway being researched is Alcohol-to-Jet (ATJ) — fuels derived from alcohol-based sources.  Touted as a low-cost route to production of jet fuel, ATJ research is being funded and conducted by the U.S. military and by U.S. companies such as GEVO and SRI International.  Full certification of ATJ by ASTM is expected by 2013.

One green initiative that I am particularly proud of involves my hometown of Detroit, Michigan, which is using its land to farm bioenergy crops.  The Wayne County Airport Authority, operator of Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, has agreed to partner with Michigan State University Extension to grow, harvest, and process bioenergy crops on the property of Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and another of the authority’s airports, Willow Run.  The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is supporting the project with a $476,000 grant.  If successful, the project will attract businesses in the area to produce alternative fuels, bring economic development to southeast Michigan and protect land around the airports.

The desire for cleaner, more sustainable fuel sources is a global concern, and everyone on the planet will benefit from reduced dependence on petroleum fuels.  ITA is committed to fostering a green economy so that industry will lead the way in winning the jobs of the future.  As President Obama said, we must seize the moment and accelerate the transition to clean energy.  We, in ITA, will continue to work with U.S. aviation alternative fuel companies and our interagency partners to support this objective.  It was exciting to be part of this event and to support a rapidly growing industry in which the United States is a global leader!

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U.S. Aerospace Industry is Making Sales and Promoting Bio Fuel at 2011 Paris Air Show

June 21, 2011

Jonathan Chesebro is an International Trade Specialist for Manufacturing and Services within the International Trade Administration. He is a member of the Aerospace Team and focuses on analysis and promotion of the aerospace industry.

This is the second of two blog articles about the Paris Air Show and the U.S. aerospace industry.

The 2011 Paris Air Show kicked off today and more than 2,100 international exhibitors are showing their wares.  When most people think of Paris they think of the Eiffel Tower, fine red wines and fashionable Europeans strolling the Champs-Elysees. When U.S. aerospace companies think of Paris, they think of the world’s oldest and largest air show.

How big is the Paris Air Show?  The 2011 Show will feature 2,000 exhibitors, 340,000 visitors, 200 international delegations, and 3,000 journalists.  According to Louis Le Portz, Chairman of the Show, “every two years, we build the equivalent of a town with 10,000 inhabitants, in order to host 300,000 visitors.”  The show will have over 140 aircraft on display and have daily flying displays.

Boeing's 747-8 at the 2011 Paris Air Show

Boeing’s 747-8 at the 2011 Paris Air Show. Photo Courtesy of Boeing

The International Trade Administration (ITA) has been supporting U.S. aerospace companies at the Paris Air Show for several decades.  This year’s ITA delegation is being led by Francisco Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade and Nicole Lamb-Hale, Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services.  At the show, Under Secretary Sánchez and Assistant Secretary Lamb-Hale will tell U.S. aerospace companies all about the activities surrounding the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI), and meet with foreign governments to discuss trade policy and advocate for U.S. firms seeking to make sales.  The Show attracts the participation of CEOs from the major U.S. and foreign aerospace companies as well as high-level government officials from around the world.  In addition, ITA officials will confer with U.S. Congressional and state delegations attending the trade show.

The Under Secretary and the Assistant Secretary will attend a signing ceremony on the second day of the show between Boeing and Aeroflot, Russia’s state-owned airline.  Aeroflot ordered eight Boeing 777s valued at $2.1 billion, and the sales will support approximately 14,000 jobs.  The sale is particularly notable since most of Aeroflot’s fleet consists of Airbus aircraft.  Given that Aeroflot is Russia’s largest airline by passenger volume, and this is their third time purchasing Boeing aircraft, there will likely be additional sales in the future.

While large U.S. aerospace companies such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin often garner much of the attention at the Paris Air Show, ITA is making an effort to focus on small and medium enterprises and companies from the supply chain.  Smaller companies are particularly important as they represent 91 percent of all U.S. exporters of aerospace products.  At a roundtable luncheon hosted by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), Sánchez and Lamb-Hale briefed twenty-one AIA member companies from the supply chain on the NEI and the NEI sector strategies, and discussed what ITA can do to help increase their export sales.

Innovations which benefit the environment are an overall theme of the show.  Alternative aviation  fuels is an emerging industry in which the United States has a lead in technology development.  To demonstrate U.S. Government support for the development of U.S. aviation alternative fuels industry, ITA has been working with the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) and Kallman Worldwide to support the Alternative Aviation Fuels Showcase, a live press and networking event to promote aviation alternative fuels readiness and investment opportunities.  The Showcase features 16 fuel companies showcasing cutting-edge alternative jet fuel technologies.  The third day of the event has been designated “investor day” and will consist of information sessions designed to spur investment in alternative fuel production and networking opportunities for fuel companies, airline customers, and investment firms. Industry observers estimate that $95 billion in investments are required to meet U.S. bio fuel demand by 2022, creating a huge investment opportunity for domestic and foreign investors in many sectors, including aviation.

ITA support for U.S. exhibitors at the Paris Air Show would not be possible without the hard work from the global Commercial Service staff.  On Tuesday, the Under Secretary and Assistant Secretary met with global staff to thank them for their dedication and to brief them on the NEI and ITA activities.  Forty-eight U.S. companies registered for one-on-one aerospace business counseling under the US Commercial Service’s “ShowTime” program, which takes place over two days, and which offers smaller companies the opportunity to sit down with aerospace specialists from 15 countries.  Countries represented include India, Russia, Canada, Turkey, the UK, Germany, the Czech Republic, and the Ukraine.  Over 300 meeting requests have been generated by the U.S. companies to discuss market potential, business strategy and next steps for their products in these markets.

Once the excitement, deal making and press surrounding the Paris Air Show ends, companies will return home to start work to fulfill the orders they received during the grand event. The next major air show will be held at the 2012 Farnborough Air Show in the United Kingdom.  ITA will be there to help U.S. companies and ensure that the U.S. aerospace industry remains internationally competitive.

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Trade Roots and ITA Partner to Bring Green Products to Brazil

June 6, 2011

Cora Dickson is a Senior International Trade Specialist at the International Trade Administration(ITA) in the Office of Energy and Environmental Industries. She is also the coordinator for the Export Green: Brazil project under the Market Development Cooperator Program.

You may recall when I reported here in November on the launch of “Export Green: Brazil” at the Americas Competitiveness Forum. Now, the two-year project under ITA’s Market Development Cooperator Program is getting into full swing with its first trade mission to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro August 28-September 2.

In partnership with the Brazil-U.S. Business Council and Trade Roots, two entities within the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, ITA already provides technical assistance for activities under Export Green. Today, Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services Nicole Lamb-Hale raised the profile of their Certified Trade Missioneven further by announcing her participation in key events of the mission to highlight U.S. companies’ ability and desire to fulfill Brazil’s green technologies needs.

Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services Nicole Y. Lamb Hale during the "Opportunities for Colorado Green Companies in Brazil" event in Denver

Approximately 15-20 green tech companies will participate in the trade mission, which is focused on green building solutions and will coincide with the “Brazil Green Build Conference and Expo” in São Paulo. Participating companies will also benefit from ITA’s matchmaking services by having a day of meetings in São Paulo with potential business prospects. In Rio de Janeiro, the delegation will take part in a conference organized by Export Green and also take a tour of the Porto Maravilha, a district revitalization project with a focus on LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

As part of outreach for the mission, last month Assistant Secretary Lamb-Hale and I travelled to Denver for Export Green’s forum, Opportunities for Colorado Green Companies in Brazil. In her keynote speech, she expressed ITA’s enthusiasm: “We stand ready to help U.S. companies that want to export clean technologies, and we are ready to leverage our bilateral ties with Brazil. We have full confidence that the Brazil-U.S. Business Council and Trade Roots can open doors on this trade mission.”

When it hosts the upcoming World Cup (2014) and Olympics (2016), Brazil is hoping to showcase green infrastructure and architecture. Even small U.S. companies with innovative technologies can take advantage of subcontracting opportunities. Best prospects in the Brazilian green building sector include energy efficient lighting, smart systems for energy automation and management, water treatment, onsite renewable energy, and the use of recycled materials in design and construction.

To demonstrate the market potential for green technology products in Brazil, we recently hosted a webinar to talk about opportunities and strategies. My colleagues from ITA’s Brazil country desk and the Commercial Service in São Paulo gave their perspectives, in addition to my own sectoral analysis, and we had presentations from the Brazil-U.S. Business Council as well, including an overview of the trade mission itself. You can download the webinar presentations here. You can also watch a recorded version, found here – for access, use the conference number PW7277144 and the passcode 3706981. But this replay is only available until June 18, so be sure to check it out soon. The deadline for applications is June 29. For more information, see the Export Green website.

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Lithuania’s Energy Minister Came to Town

May 16, 2011

Juan Verde is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe in International Trade Administration’s Market Access and Compliance Unit.  He is passionate about helping U.S. companies find export opportunities, and has special expertise in renewable energy industry issues.

I am so pleased that last week Lithuania’s Energy Minister Arvydas Sekmokas is in Washington and meeting with U.S. Government officials and U.S. companies on Lithuania’s energy initiatives.  I think this is clear evidence that the Government of Lithuania wants to diversify its energy sources and it acknowledges U.S. industry expertise in the energy sector.

Minister Sekmokas is also discussing plans for shale gas exploration and the Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant.  I had the honor of meeting with him at the Atlantic Council and I was impressed by the Lithuanian government’s dedication to energy diversification and independence.  I am fully supportive of these efforts in Lithuania and the Baltic region.

The press release on the U.S. company Cheniere’s  website underscores the opportunities to be found in Lithuania.   This week the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Klaipedos Nafta, the Lithuanian company that operates Lithuania’s crude oil and crude oil products terminal in the port of Klaipeda.  The press release states that the MOU will help “address Klaipedos Nafta’s future natural gas needs and assess LNG purchase and supply options.”

Also, I am very eager to see what additional commercial opportunities for U.S. companies will emerge from the first ever Department of Commerce certified trade mission to Lithuania in September.  Renewable energy is a key export sector targeted for this trade mission.  I plan to be there in September to see this historic and commercially exciting trade mission take off.  More information on the trade mission is available on the American Chamber of Commerce in Lithuania’s web site.

These opportunities in Lithuania are but a small fraction of the global renewable energy and energy-efficient export opportunities out there. In December 2010, Commerce Secretary Locke launched the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Initiative, or RE4I. The Initiative includes 23 commitments from 8 different federal agencies (Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, U.S. Trade Representative, State Department, U.S. Trade and Development Agency, Export-Import Bank of the United States, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and U.S. Department of Agriculture) for new programs, actions, or deliverables that will help address the major export barriers facing U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency (RE&EE) companies. The initiative also includes an export resource guide to help U.S. companies expand their sales overseas and explore new opportunities.

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Growing Your Small Green Business and APEC

May 15, 2011

Jane Siegel is an International Trade Specialist at the International Trade Administration who is focused on green building and sustainability issues.

More than 130 participants, both from public and private sector, from 14 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC economies will learn ways that small and medium-sized companies can implement best practices and make use of resources to become more green and sustainable during a seminar in Big Sky this weekend.

The seminar, consisting of three panels, will bring together business and government expertise focused on “How to Grow Your Small Green Business in APEC Economies.”  The three panels are designed to cover all of the important issues a small or medium-sized businesses working in the energy efficiency, renewable energy, or traditional environmental sectors seeking to export or grow the international side of their work needs to come to grips with as they move forward.

The Functional Panel deals with finance, regulatory and trade promotion.  To grow, smaller companies need to understand finance tools and strategies, the regulatory issues such as standards and the regulatory capacities of the countries in which they are interested.  The Regional Panel will assemble small companies, which have experienced success and challenges in China, Mexico, Canada, Philippines, Brunei and other APEC economies and share those stories with the audience.  Finally, the Sectoral Panel will provide information from companies working in solar energy, wastewater treatment, green building products, and design and engineering.  This seminar will have a practical orientation.

The companies participating in the day’s events will come away with a better understanding of the tools they need to implement to find success in exporting and growing their green businesses. The relationships and opportunities that result from this event will help to build a stronger community within the APEC region and lead to a more robust green community globally.

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Sustainable Manufacturing and E3 Join Forces for the 10th SMART

January 4, 2011
This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy
 
Bill McElnea is an International Trade Specialist with the International Trade Administration. He leads the Sustainable Manufacturing Initiative.  

Early December marked the tenth Sustainable Manufacturing American Regional Tour, or SMART and this one took place in Detroit, MI. Sixty representatives from Detroit’s manufacturing sector, state government, nonprofit sector, academia and federal government gathered to discuss, learn, teach and embody the lessons learned from companies who have applied the concepts of sustainable manufacturing. The event was free to participants and the objective was to connect Detroit manufacturers to the federal government’s E3 (Economy, Energy, Environment) Initiative, a multi-agency effort aimed at helping U.S. manufacturers and utilities become more energy-efficient, sustainable and competitive and showcase Detroit-area industrial energy efficiency and sustainability successes through company presentations and manufacturing facility tours. This was the second time the Sustainable Manufacturing Initiative or SMI has formally partnered with E3 (Economy, Energy, Environment). As the largest exporting metro region in the U.S., Detroit area businesses benefit from E3 initiatives, which present an array of opportunities for Detroit businesses looking to cut costs, identify new markets and create jobs.

Mary Saunders, deputy assistant secretary for manufacturing and services, tours Goodwill's GreenWorks facility in Detroit, MI

Mary Saunders, deputy assistant secretary for manufacturing and services, tours Goodwill’s GreenWorks facility in Detroit, MI

DTE Energy, Detroit’s largest utility, hosted the day’s morning session that featured opening remarks by President and COO Steve Kurmas and Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services Mary Saunders. Saunders highlighted the range of tools and resources available to Detroit-area manufacturers, provided by the U.S. Commerce Department through the SMI, CommerceConnect and local Export Assistance Centers. Other federal government resources, such as the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, the local Manufacturing Extension Partnership affiliate, and Small Business Administration district office were also highlighted.

The day’s events included a discussion about the successes and challenges in industrial energy efficiency and sustainability. The panel included Gerald Polk of DTE, who discussed their energy optimization programs for manufacturers, a program for which DTE has allocated more than $10 million. The program also provides grant incentives to manufacturers that plan to implement energy efficiency enhancements in their facilities. Over 1,100 businesses are currently participating in this program.

A highlight of the day included a tour of Goodwill’s Green Works facility where participants had the opportunity to hear personal success stories from employees and observe Green Works’ asset recovery operations. Participants toured the facility’s sorting and processing operations which use state of the art machinery donated by DTE Energy.

All in all, the day was a great success, with substantive discussion throughout on ways the federal and state governments, private sector, academia and nonprofit sector can work together to advance the green economy in Detroit. The E3 program will provide substantial follow-up to this event, recruiting a steady stream of Detroit-area manufacturers interested in implementing energy efficiency and sustainability improvements in their own operations to enhance competitiveness and environmental stewardship. Presentations, photos, and a full resource guide from the event are available on the SMI website.

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