Posts Tagged ‘renewable energy’

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Bigger than Meets the Eye: Look South to Chile!

July 29, 2014

Olivia Kantor recently completed an internship in the International Trade Administration’s Office of South America.

A long, narrow country in South America with a relatively small population of 18 million, Chile may not be the first country that comes to mind when considering export markets.

However, Chile’s dynamic economic growth, open markets, and world-class industries make it an attractive option for U.S. companies looking to sell their product abroad.

Chile is the United States’ fourth-largest trading partner in Latin America, and U.S. exports to Chile reached $17.6 billion in 2013. Trade with the country has increased nearly six-fold since the establishment of the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement.

Several key industries in Chile have produced growing markets for U.S. goods and unique opportunities for business investment:

  • Electrical Power Equipment: Chile has the highest energy costs in South America. Efficient, affordable energy sources are at a premium as the Chilean economy continues to expand. Between 2013 and 2020, growth rates of 6 to 7 percent are projected for electricity consumption in Chile, and an estimated $20 billion of foreign investment and electrical power equipment will be needed to complete a variety of energy generation and transmission projects. Additionally, Chile plans to invest in many forms of renewable energy, making it an ideal market for U.S. manufacturers in that industry.
  • Construction: Driven by energy projects and investment in the Chilean mining industry, construction in Chile has grown at record rates. Construction within the mining industry alone is expected to total $50 billion during the next several years. With little construction equipment produced domestically, Chile relies on high-quality machinery from the United States. That puts U.S. businesses in an ideal position to take advantage of the wave of new construction projects, particularly in infrastructure and housing.
  • Agricultural Machinery and Equipment: Chile’s export-driven agricultural industry is looking to boost productivity and efficiency, providing a unique opportunity to U.S. exporters of specialized and energy efficient agricultural machinery. Continued demand for sophisticated agricultural machinery is expected to grow 7 to 8 percent through 2015. Demand is especially high for harvesting machinery, irrigation infrastructure, and precision agriculture equipment.

Many other Chilean industries also offer significant opportunities for U.S. exporters. You can find a complete list of best prospect sectors for Chile in the Country Commercial Guide.  The US- Chile Free Trade Agreement allows U.S. firms to export with fewer barriers than many other markets. In addition, Chile continues to strengthen its commitment to liberalizing trade as a founding member of both the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Pacific Alliance.

If your company is interested in learning more about doing business in the Chilean market, the Look South initiative offers a number of services to help U.S. businesses capitalize on these exciting opportunities, from business matchmaking to trade counseling.

There are also a number of events for companies eager to start making connections in Chile and beyond.

Contact your nearest Export Assistance Center to learn more about how you can take advantage of opportunities in Chile and 11 U.S. free trade agreement partner countries in Latin America!

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Exploring Top Markets for Renewable Energy Exporters

March 12, 2014

Cora Dickson and Ryan Mulholland are Renewable Energy Analysts in ITA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries.

Join the ITA Renewable Energy team on Twitter to ask questions and learn more about the report. Ask questions using #REtopmarkets.

We were glad to join the American Council on Renewable Energy for a Twitter chat about the top renewable energy export markets.

As demand for clean energy grows throughout the world, how does a renewable energy company develop its export strategy?

Renewable energy is a sector that is notoriously difficult to predict.  The rapidly changing technology and policy environment can make it challenging for businesses to explore new markets and create an export strategy.

Here at ITA, we are committed to supporting renewable energy exporters by providing the most timely, accurate, and valuable information necessary to compete effectively in international markets. We put together a new report – the 2014 Renewable Energy Top Markets for U.S. Exports Report – to help exporters determine which markets may yield the most near-term renewable energy opportunities.

Exporters can find information on potential U.S. exports of goods related to renewable energy by both market and sector through 2015. Information is included for the wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, ethanol, and wood pellet (biomass) sectors. Please note that the analysis does not describe investment opportunities or even the fastest growing markets – instead, it shows where ITA believes most U.S. renewable energy exports will go in the near-term.

To undertake the analysis, we gathered data on 75 markets, including:

  • Projected capacity installations by market and by subsector;
  • The projected capital cost of a market’s projected capacity growth;
  • Each market’s projected consumption of ethanol and biomass pellets;
  • Expected import market size based on historical imports, manufacturing capacity, etc.; and
  • Projected U.S. market share in each market.

The report highlights some interesting facts – some expected and others quite informative – to exporters looking to develop an effective renewable energy export strategy:

  • Ten markets will account for nearly three-fourths of U.S. renewable energy exports over the next two years;
  • The wind sector will overtake the solar sector as the leading U.S. exporter of renewable energy technologies during that time period; and
  • Renewable energy markets in Latin America generally support a greater market share for U.S. exporters than elsewhere around the world, but often are smaller and less developed.

Company-specific priorities vary, so we encourage exporters to visit their nearest U.S. Export Assistance Center (USEAC) to further develop or refine their export strategy.  Our USEACs can also put exporters in touch with ITA’s Foreign Commercial Service staff at 72 different embassies and consulates around the world for the most up-to-date and relevant market information.

For more information on exporting renewable energy, we recommend browsing the Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency exporters portal, and sign up for the monthly e-newsletter, both of which contain a myriad of resources from ITA and across the federal government.

Please also join us on March 25, 2014 at 2 p.m. for a Twitter Town Hall (#REtopmarkets).  We’ll highlight key findings and answer questions about the Top Markets report. We are always looking to improve our programs and services, so we would also like to hear your ideas or suggestions on how to make the next Top Markets report more useful and effective. We look forward to chatting with you!

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Timely Trade Policy Mission to Japan Yields Insights on Renewable Energy and Smart Grid Business Opportunities

December 27, 2012

This post contains external links. Please review our external linking policy.

Cora Dickson is a Senior International Trade Specialist in ITA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries.

On a windy morning in early December, I stood on an observation platform gazing out over the sea of solar modules, and beyond that, the Pacific Ocean– or more precisely, Matsushima Bay, one of Japan’s “three most scenic spots.”  I was joined on the platform by several U.S. companies, officials and colleagues from the International Trade Administration (ITA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and workers from the Tohoku Electric Utility who were taking us on a tour of their solar power station.  The view was so breathtaking that it was hard to believe that in March 2011, the land where the solar panels now existed was covered by over 16 feet of water and debris from the tsunami.

International Trade Administration and Department of Energy employees pose for a photo with trade mission participants and workers from the Tohoku Electric Utility on an observation platform above Matsushima Bay in Japan in December 2012.

International Trade Administration and Department of Energy employees pose for a photo with trade mission participants and workers from the Tohoku Electric Utility on an observation platform above Matsushima Bay in Japan in December 2012.

This was the final stop in our “Tohoku (Northeast) Tour” to Fukushima and Miyagi, prefectures that are committing themselves to rebuilding with green technologies after being hit hard by the earthquake and tsunami.  The U.S. companies that signed up for the U.S.-Japan Renewable Energy Policy Business Roundtable in Tokyo on December 3 were given the option to take this tour, which also included courtesy call meetings with officials of both prefectures.

Led by ITA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing Maureen Smith and DOE’s Deputy Assistant Secretary Phyllis Yoshida, the trade policy mission accomplished its goals: to gain insights into the evolving policy and regulatory landscape for renewable energy and smart grid in Japan.  It was tied to our bilateral discussions, known as the U.S.-Japan Clean Energy Policy Dialogue, allowing private sector input to guide the direction of cooperative activities between our governments.

Prior to the trade mission, my office published a market intelligence brief, “Japan’s Electricity Market and Opportunities for U.S. Renewable Energy and Smart Grid Exporters,” to highlight the complexity yet attractiveness of this burgeoning market.  While Japan is no stranger to renewable energy, it has revisited its policies and incentives due to several factors, including the March 2011 disaster that led to a shutdown of all but two nuclear plants in the country.  There is even talk of structural reform in the electricity sector.

Cora Dickson of the International Trade Administration stands by a sign indicating the high water mark of the floodwaters at the Tohoku Electric Utility's liquified natural gas plant following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Cora Dickson of the International Trade Administration stands by a sign indicating the high water mark of the floodwaters at the Tohoku Electric Utility’s liquified natural gas plant following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Another opportunity for U.S. renewable energy and smart grid companies to explore Japan’s market is coming up February 27-March 1 at the World Smart Energy Week in Tokyo, a Commerce certified trade show.  Please contact Takahiko Suzuki if you would like more information.

We will continue to shore up our alliance with the Government of Japan as well as Tohoku communities to promote clean energy.  The Tohoku Tour allowed us to talk with local people about how they envision renewable energy and smart grid technologies will help them manage their energy needs in the wake of the disaster.

On the same grounds of the solar plant in Tohoku, we also briefly visited the 400 MW liquefied natural gas plant operated by the same utility. It had been converted from a coal plant years earlier.  The plant was strong enough to withstand the tsunami, though the workers told of how they retreated to the third floor for several days until the floodwaters receded.  They had no power and they could not contact their families because all the phone towers were also destroyed.

As our bus rolled back towards the city where we would catch the bullet train to return to Tokyo, we saw newly reconstructed houses on the coastline as well as abandoned foundations.  These were solemn reminders that Japan is both vulnerable and resilient, and will take proactive steps towards a better future.  We hope U.S. companies can partner with them to reach their goals.

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U.S. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Trade Mission to Saudi Arabia

February 7, 2012

April 14–18, 2012
U.S. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Trade Mission to Saudi Arabia
Riyadh and Dhahran (Eastern Province), Saudi Arabia

In April, Assistant Secretary Nicole Lamb-Hale will lead a Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Trade Mission to Saudi Arabia. The mission will include market briefings by industry experts, opportunities for U.S. firms to meet key Saudi Arabian government officials and decision-makers, hold one-on-one meetings with potential business partners, and enjoy networking events, with the goal of increasing U.S. exports in the clean energy and energy efficiency sectors.

SolarTAC test facility in Aurora, CO (Courtesy of DOE/NREL)

SolarTAC test facility in Aurora, CO (Courtesy of DOE/NREL)

The mission comes at a critical time for both Saudi Arabia and the U.S. clean energy and energy efficiency industry, and has the potential to create opportunities for U.S. exporters while helping Saudi Arabia to achieve its energy goals.

Saudi Arabia has ambitious plans to improve energy efficiency and reduce reliance on hydrocarbons for power generation.  These plans offer abundant opportunities for U.S. companies to export American technologies, products, and services.

While Saudi Arabia possesses one-fifth of global oil reserves, it meets almost 60% of its domestic power needs from petroleum.  The eight to nine percent annual growth in domestic electricity demand – and thus domestic petroleum consumption –  cuts deeply into exports.  The Saudi Government heavily subsidizes domestically-used oil, which causes not only  reduced export income, but also has enormous opportunity costs as there is less feedstock for development of downstream petrochemical industries and the jobs that go with them.

Saudi Arabia hopes to reduce by half the crude oil and natural gas it burns now to generate electricity, in part by developing solar power capacity, an area where it has clear climatological advantages. As part of its plan for reducing fossil fuel dependence, the Saudi Government aims to install 5 GW of solar power by 2020.

As Saudi Arabia expands its energy supply and integrates renewable energy, further investment will be required in grid modernization and smart grid technologies that enable utility management of variable energy sources. Firms participating in the trade mission will gain market insight, make industry contacts, solidify business strategies, and identify or advance specific projects, helping U.S. firms benefit from this growing market for their products as Saudi Arabia ramps up investment in the clean energy and energy efficiency sectors.

Both residential and industrial sectors contribute to increased electrical demand in Saudi Arabia.  Residential air conditioning consumes more than 50% of total power during Saudi Arabia’s long, hot summers.  Saudi Arabia plans to construct 1.65 million new homes over the next six years and will be looking closely at products, materials and technologies that reduce energy use and increase efficiency.

Saudi Arabia also relies on desalination plants to produce 70% of its potable water, using as much as 1.5 million barrels per day of oil equivalent to do so; Saudi Arabia hopes to start up its first solar-powered desalination plant in 2013.

This mission will target a variety of sectors that could reduce the impact of residential and industrial electricity demand, including solar power generation components and systems; smart grid systems, software and services; green building design/engineering, materials and technologies; and energy efficiency systems and solutions.

The mission will begin in Riyadh and will include site visits and consultations in Dhahran (Eastern Province), including the King Abdullah City of Atomic and Renewable Energy, the Saudi Electricity Company and Saudi Aramco. The cost to participate in the trade mission ranges from $3,020 to $3,502 per company for one representative, depending on firm size. There is a $500 fee for an additional company participant. Expenses for travel, lodging, most meals and incidentals will be the responsibility of each mission participant.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through March 1, 2012. Space is limited. For more information about the trade mission, visit the mission web site or contact Jen Derstine of Manufacturing and Services, tel.: (202) 482-3889; e-mail: jennifer.derstine@trade.gov, or James Fluker of the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service, tel.: +966 (1) 488-3800; e-mail: james.fluker@trade.gov.

Useful resources:

ITA Saudi market research
Saudi Country Commercial Guide
Archive recording of Saudi solar webinar

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Participants in the Renewable Energy Trade Mission to Turkey Find Business Partnerships

January 9, 2012

Ryan Barnes is an International Trade Specialist in the Office of European Country Affairs within the Market Access and Compliance division of the International Trade Administration.

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Trade Delegation to Turkey, December 5-9, 2011

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Trade Delegation to Turkey, December 5-9, 2011

Just last month, I accompanied Michael Camuñez, Assistant Secretary for Market Access and Compliance as he led 16 U.S. Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency companies on a Trade Mission to Turkey. The delegation included U.S. energy firms as well as officials from Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC) agencies: Export-Import Bank, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Trade and Development Agency. The delegation visited Ankara, Izmir and Istanbul, where numerous opportunities exist for these firms.

The staff of the International Trade Administration recruited a variety of companies for the mission.  The group included energy giants such as General Electric, Johnson Controls, and AES as well as nine small and medium-sized enterprises on the leading edge of renewable energy technology.  Of the sixteen firms, whose products range from solar panels to cooling systems, eleven had never before done business in Turkey.  One firm, World Business Capital, was also there to provide financing.

The mission’s main objective was to introduce the participants to potential Turkish business partners.  U.S. firms met with numerous Turkish counterparts in one-on-one meetings to discuss possible joint venture opportunities.  More than 340 of these business to business matchmaking meetings took place during the five-day mission.

The trade mission could not have come at a better time.  Bilateral trade between the U.S. and Turkey is set to break records in 2011, with projections of roughly $20 billion in total trade.  And the energy sector, in particular, is ripe for U.S. trade and investment.  Turkish energy demand is due to grow at a rate of seven to nine percent annually.  To help accommodate this growing demand, the Turkish government will invest roughly $130 billion by 2023, and has placed a great deal of emphasis on renewable energy.  Ankara has plans to achieve 30 percent renewable energy production by 2023, and has called for $40 billion in investment in this sector by 2020. Turkey also passed an updated renewable energy law in December 2010 to provide even further investment incentives.

The U.S. Government has worked to develop this burgeoning market.  In addition to the trade mission, there is a newly launched interagency project known as the “Near Zero Zone”.  This project, led by the U.S. Department of Energy, is helping industrial companies operating within the Izmir Ataturk Organized Industrial Zone (IAOSB) reduce their energy usage through a series of cost-effective efficiency upgrades.  One of key stops during the trade mission was to this Near Zero Zone site in Izmir.

The trade mission, along with the Near Zero Zone, helped with the formation of business partnerships and provided opportunities to match high quality U.S. supply with growing Turkish energy demand.  The potential for mutual gain in this arena is enormous.  Already, trade mission participants have reported a potential $40 million in business deals.   We hope this is just the beginning.

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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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