Archive for the ‘Environment and Renewable Energy’ Category


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:, or James Fluker of the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service, tel.: +966 (1) 488-3800; e-mail:

Useful resources:

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


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.


Third Time is a Charm: Our Strong Relationship with India

November 8, 2011

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

By Francisco J. Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

I’ve arrived in New Delhi, India, with a Clean Technologies trade mission of seven U.S. companies eager to find partners in key sectors such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, and environmental technologies. After New Delhi, we will travel to Hyderabad, a high-technology hub in the south; and then the companies will go on to Ahmedabad – an important “next tier” city in the western Indian state of Gujarat. As one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India offers enormous potential to U.S companies. It has critical infrastructure needs in energy, transportation, environment, and supply chain, to name a few – all areas where U.S. companies can offer cutting-edge technologies. I strongly believe that India’s needs are our companies’ potential opportunities.

This is my first trade mission to India, but my third visit as Under Secretary. A year ago, I came here with President Obama, and two months before that, I came to launch our GEMS initiative – Growth in Emerging Metropolitan Sectors.

Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez presents the Peace through Commerce Award to Ms. Kiran Pasricha, former head of the Washington office of the Confederation of Indian Industry

Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez presents the Peace through Commerce Award to Ms. Kiran Pasricha, former head of the Washington office of the Confederation of Indian Industry

Why the attention to India? The Administration accords great importance to our relationship with India. President Obama said in November 2010 before the Indian Parliament that the U.S.-India relationship “will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.” This trade mission advances President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014, supporting economic and job growth. This should be an achievable goal with India – we already doubled exports between 2005 and 2010!

I am continually impressed by the vibrancy and entrepreneurial spirit of India’s private sector. In many ways our two business communities are ahead of the governments in expanding the relationship. That’s why I’m especially pleased that I was able to give a Peace through Commerce Award yesterday to a key private sector partner – and friend – Ms. Kiran Pasricha, former head of the Washington office of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The Peace through Commerce award was actually started by President Thomas Jefferson, but it had fallen into disuse. I brought it back because I wanted to recognize our partners abroad. Kiran has been a wonderful partner who has had the foresight to understand how trade can contribute to the broader relationship, and help bring prosperity to both our nations.

Today (Tuesday) India’s Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar and I co-chaired a public-private session of the U.S.-India Commercial Dialogue. Through this Dialogue, the two governments and the two private sectors regularly work together to find solutions to nuts-and-bolts commercial issues. In today’s session, we talked about what conditions are necessary to build a modern, flourishing cold chain. A cold chain is the system for transportation of perishable products such as food, chemicals, and drugs along a supply chain, together with the logistical planning to ensure the integrity of such shipments. I very much appreciated the participation on the U.S. side of the Global Cold Chain Alliance, the American Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S.-India Business Council; and on the Indian side, of CII. Secretary Khullar and I will be working with our business communities to set an agenda on a range of different topics for the coming year.

In 20 years, 68 cities in India are expected to have populations surpassing 1 million. And total annual income of households in urban areas is expected to reach $4 trillion in 2030. This is a huge market for both Indian and American companies. This is why India was the place where we started the GEMS initiative. I want to make sure we continue that effort. So yesterday I met with a number of officials from some of the states surrounding New Delhi. After our stop in Hyderabad, where I will inaugurate SOLARCON, a preeminent trade fair for solar technology, the companies will go on to Ahmedabad.

At the same time, India poses a number of serious market access barriers for our companies. In my talks with government officials this week, I have urged them to continue to become more open to the investments and the innovations of foreign companies. In this way, India will improve its chances of meeting the needs of its people – and together we can prove that trade and investment will be win-win for us both.


Exporting: Where There’s a Will (and Solar Power), There’s a Way

November 1, 2011

By Doug Barry, a senior international trade specialist in the Trade Information Center.

Labcon, a U.S. exporter based in Petaluma, California, has found that such strategies as mechanization, increased productivity, green technology, and an unwavering willingness to go abroad have helped it to achieve export success.

This 800-kilowatt rooftop solar array, which came on line in July 2011, now provides about 30 percent of the energy needed to produce Labcon North America’s products. The California company is committed to green technology, and this year was presented with an E Award by the Department of Commerce for its export achievements. (photo courtesy Labcon North America)

This 800-kilowatt rooftop solar array, which came on line in July 2011, now provides about 30 percent of the energy needed to produce Labcon North America’s products. The California company is committed to green technology, and this year was presented with an E Award by the Department of Commerce for its export achievements. (photo courtesy Labcon North America)

Labcon North America, located in Petaluma, California, is a major supplier of disposable products to laboratories, which include pipets, centrifuge tubes, and other laboratory disposables. The company has been a leader in “eco-efficiency,” using less packaging, recycled plastics, and refillable packages in its product line. It has also been committed to sustainable manufacturing processes, most notably by installing an 800-kilowatt rooftop solar array that came on line in July 2011. This now provides about 30 percent of the energy needed to produce Labcon’s products.

In May, Labcon received an E Award from then-Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke in recognition of the company’s achievements in exporting. Labcon’s president, Jim Happ, spoke recently with Doug Barry of the Department of Commerce’s Trade Information Center about the company’s approach to exporting and the tools that they’ve used to grow their markets overseas.

Barry: Petaluma, California, was once known for its chicken eggs, right?

Happ: Yes, exactly. Petaluma was once a leading exporter of eggs. In the 1950s, there were container loads of eggs going down the Petaluma River, headed to Mexico and South America. It’s interesting that we’ve won this E Award, and that we’re from Petaluma. It will be fun going back home with this!

Barry: What does Labcon do?

Happ: We are a manufacturer of medical liquid handling products, primarily disposables that are used by clinics, drug discovery labs, hospitals, and universities. We make about 4 million pieces a day of such labware. And we’ve been in business for more than 50 years.

Barry: When did you come to the company?

Happ: I’ve been here 20 years. When I came to the company, it was doing about $1 million a year in exports. Now we are up to about $10 million a year.

Barry: How many employees do you have now?

Jim Happ, president of Labcon North America, at the company’s manufacturing facility in Petaluma, California. According to Happ, many U.S. businesses “are unaware that the rest of the world wants everything that we have, and that they really respect Americans and American products.” (photo courtesy Labcon North America)

Jim Happ, president of Labcon North America, at the company’s manufacturing facility in Petaluma, California. According to Happ, many U.S. businesses “are unaware that the rest of the world wants everything that we have, and that they really respect Americans and American products.” (photo courtesy Labcon North America)

Happ: About 240, from just a handful some years ago back. But the number doesn’t tell the whole story. We haven’t grown in quantity that much, but we have grown a lot in terms of the number of higher-paying jobs. I’d say the average salary at Labcon now is 40 percent higher than it was six years ago.

Barry: How do you account for that?

Happ: We’ve mechanized a lot to become more efficient, and that has made us more competitive in the world market. We can compete with the Chinese. We can compete with anybody.

Barry: What was the biggest challenge in increasing your exports?

Happ: Because we produce medical devices, the biggest challenge was getting our products certified—in Europe, for example, with the CE mark and ISO certification—and getting all of our documentation ready with multilingual labels, etc.

Barry: Did you make use of any U.S. government resources to help you in your efforts to expand overseas?

Happ: Yes. The staff of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS) has been really helpful to us, especially with the Gold Key matchmaking service. We did a couple of Gold Keys, where we had the opportunity to meet with potential distributors. We also received counseling on where the better markets were likely to be for us. Elizabeth Krauth of the U.S. Export Assistance Center in the North Bay Area [California] is our liaison. We’ve been working with her for at least five years.

For More Information

Is your company thinking of expanding overseas? The network of more than 100 U.S. Export Assistance Centers (USEACs) located around the country can help. To locate the one nearest you, visit, the U.S. government’s export portal. Aside from links to USEACs, the Web site also includes online tutorials, listings of upcoming trade events, and much more. Visit or call the Trade Information Center at 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) (1-800-872-8723).

Barry: Can you tell us a bit about a country where you did the Gold Key?

Happ: Well, in Singapore, for example, we had a distributor that wasn’t performing well for us. So, we went to the U.S. embassy where we met with several distributors and with the USFCS staff based there. We came away with a new distributor as well as a lot of literature on the market. We also got a lot of ideas on what we should be doing there as far as warehousing and how to make it easier for people to buy our products.

Barry: How did that work out in terms of new business?

Happ: I’d say we’ve quadrupled our business there in three years. We are now looking to hire someone in Singapore to manage our business. We think that if we had one person based there, we could exponentially grow our sales.

Barry: What other markets are you looking at?

Happ: Indonesia and Russia. We are looking at doing a Gold Key program in Russia because we have virtually no sales there. We’ve been unsuccessful in finding a good distributor in Russia. So I’ve already spoken to Elizabeth Krauth about using the Gold Key program to help us find one.

Barry: How about China?

Happ: In China, we have an arrangement with a distributor. We’re just in our first year with them, so we’re going to give them another year to see how they do. We gave them the first container of our product on 365-day terms. They have 130 salespeople spread throughout China.

Barry: What percentage of Labcon’s sales is international?

Happ: About 30 percent outside of North America. About 40 percent if you include Canada and Mexico.

Barry: What would your advice be to a U.S. businessperson contemplating exporting?

Happ: I’d advise them to visit those countries that they’re thinking of exporting to, do some research, talk to the Commerce Department’s export counselors, and so figure out where they should be. It’s important to physically go to those countries and meet the people there, and to go to trade shows and the embassies. If you have a competitive product in this country, you can be competitive overseas. We’ve completely gotten over thinking that the overseas part of our business is more difficult than the domestic part. It isn’t. In fact, it’s probably now easier for us to grow because overseas markets are expanding so much.

Barry: What do you think holds U.S. companies back from exporting?

Happ: I think many Americans are afraid, and don’t understand the world. It’s not a bad place! You’re not going to get ripped off, and you will get paid for your products. Unfortunately, many Americans are unaware that the rest of the world wants everything that we have, and that they really respect Americans and American products.


Online Toolkit Helps U.S. Manufacturers Go Green

November 1, 2011

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

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 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.


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.”







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.


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:, or Serdar Cetinkaya of the USFCS, tel.: +90 (312) 457 7203; e-mail:


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!


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 ChampsElysees. 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.