Archive for the ‘Environment and Renewable Energy’ Category


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.


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.


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.


Sustainable Manufacturing and E3 Join Forces for the 10th SMART

January 4, 2011
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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.


Unleashing the Potential for Economic Growth: Promoting Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Exports

December 8, 2010

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Julius Svoboda is an International Trade Specialist in the Office of Energy and Environmental Industries at the International Trade Administration and works on industrial energy efficiency issues. Specifically, he coordinates the Energy Efficiency Initiative, a program that supports U.S. exporters of energy efficiency products.

Yesterday 24 of the 28 members of the newly appointed and created Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee met for the first time to discuss the state of this key sector, hash out their priorities for moving the needle forward to exact change, and make meaningful and productive recommendations to Gary Locke, the Secretary of Commerce.

The committee came about as a result of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Initiative. The Initiative was developed through the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee Working Group on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, which includes representatives from the Departments of Commerce, Energy, State, and Agriculture, as well as the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im), the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Although many of the Committee members  are serving as advisors to form policy and practical recommendations for the first time, the thoughtfulness and intelligent discussions during the course of the meeting was evidence that they taking the responsibility of their appointment very seriously. That this Committee wants to have a measurable and constructive impact is clear, and their remarks impressed that upon policymakers like Secretary Locke that the industry needs to be given greater priority across the administration.

One message heard again and again during the meeting was a viable and robust domestic market here will help promote exports of U.S. goods and services. Growth markets want to see the technology in operation, and companies can’t sell abroad what won’t be bought at home. Leading by example will sell the products and services themselves—but the U.S. government needs to support renewable energy and energy efficiency research, development and adoption in the U.S.

The membership asked the Secretary for suggestions on the types of recommendations that he felt would be most constructive. The Secretary’s answer was clear: “attach a metric to recommendations so that government can see how we are improving,” he said “if we’re doing C work, we need to know that, and if we’re doing A work we need to know that too.”  Being able to measure the impact of policy will go a long way to knowing the best way to support the industry.

Representatives from the Departments of State and Energy, OPIC, Trade Development Agency, Ex-Im, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office all participated and briefed the committee members on activities within their organizations relating to renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The committee elected Karl Gawell, Executive Director of the Geothermal Energy Association to serve as their chairman and Tom Wirec Vice President of Membership & Corporate Relations of American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) to serve as vice chair.

As the committee continues to meet, I am looking forward to their discussions and recommendations and how that will all have an impact on the future of this industry.


ACF, Green Technology Exports, Brazil and a Two-Year Partnership

November 15, 2010

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Cora Dickson is a Senior International Trade Specialist with the International Trade Administration working in the Office of Energy and Environmental Industries

With three breakout sessions on “green technologies” over the next two days, the Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) is the perfect setting to officially launch a two-year Market Development Cooperation Program (MDCP) award, “Export Green: Growing SME Exports to Brazil.”

Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez (center) presents MDCP award at the Americas Competitiveness Forum in Atlanta on November 14.

Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sánchez (center) presents MDCP award at the Americas Competitiveness Forum in Atlanta on November 14.

Like all MDCPs, this will result in a close working partnership between the cooperator, in this case the National Chamber Foundation, and the International Trade Administration (ITA).  On average, for every dollar that ITA invests in MDCP awards generates $125 in exports; awards are granted only to non-profit groups.  As an industry expert on the staff of the Office and Energy and Environmental Industries, my role will be to coordinate ITA and U.S. government resources and to liaise with the cooperator.

Yesterday during an intimate meet-and-greet for U.S. ACF attendees, Under Secretary Sánchez and Assistant Secretary Camuñez congratulated the Chamber Foundation and pledged ITA support for the exciting array of activities being planned – including trade missions, business forums, webinars, and Brazilian buying missions to green tech trade shows in the United States.  Steven Bipes, Executive Director, Brazil-U.S. Business Council, and Kathleen McInerney, Manager, Trade Roots were both on hand to receive the award and talk about the goals of the partnership.  It all starts with a survey of U.S. green tech companies.  The results of the survey will provide a foundation on which to build the MDCP, and also help the cooperator keep companies apprised of upcoming events and opportunities.   If you are a green tech small or medium-sized company interested in entering or expanding your overseas activities especially in Brazil, please take the survey.

Non-profit organizations interested in hearing more about how they can apply to become an MDCP partner can attend “Partnering to Double Exports” on December 1.


Discussion Panel at the White House Clean Energy Forum

July 16, 2010

Courtney Gregoire is Director, National Export Initiative.

Today, I moderated a panel at the White House Clean Energy Forum on “International Leadership, Competitiveness, and Exports” featuring three industry leaders: Bruce Sohn, President of First Solar; Mary Ann Wright, Vice President of Global Technology and Innovation Accelerator for Johnson Controls; and Steve Bolze, the President and CEO of GE Power and Water.

With approximately 100 clean energy business and thought leaders, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke kicked off the forum with his words:  “The development of clean energy and energy efficient technologies could spur the greatest economic opportunity of the 21st century.”

A spirited conversation ensued as panelists and audience members alike commented that the key to expanding clean energy exports is increasing domestic demand for clean energy, and that starts with enacting comprehensive energy legislation.   Others commented on the significant clean energy investments made by other countries from China to Brazil to Germany.  Competing in this globally competitive marketplace, as one audience member put it, requires a call for the “revolutionary, not evolutionary.”

ITA is attempting to rise to that challenge by developing a strategy to double renewable energy and energy efficiency exports in the next five years as part of President Obama’s National Export Initiative.


Energy and Cost Savings through Green ICT

June 16, 2010

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Tim Miles is Associate Director on the IT Team in Manufacturing and Services’ Office of Technology and Electronic Commerce and covers the U.S. software and IT services industries.  He and his colleagues work with other ITA units and U.S. Government agencies on domestic and trade policy issues that affect the U.S. IT sector and provide counseling to U.S. IT exporters, especially small and medium-sized companies.

Information and communications technology (ICT) has become a significant source of energy consumption.  ICT equipment now makes up about 5.3 percent of global electricity use and more than 9 percent of total U.S. electricity demand.  The International Energy Agency (a unit of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris) predicts that the energy consumed by ICT worldwide will double by 2022 and increase three-fold by 2030 to 1,700 tera (trillion) watt hours.  This will equal the current combined residential electricity use of the United States and Japan and will require the addition of nearly 280 giga (billion) watts of new generating capacity over the next twenty years, presenting a great challenge to electric utilities throughout the world.

On the other hand, ICT also enables greater energy efficiency.  It has played and will continue to play a critical role in reducing energy waste and increasing energy efficiency throughout the economy.  U.S. businesses have realized that the rising cost of energy is a pressing issue and have begun to invest in Green ICT.

 The goal of Green ICT is to increase environmental sustainability throughout the entire ICT life-cycle along the following four complimentary paths:

Green use — reducing the energy consumption of computers and other information systems as well as using them in an environmentally sound manner

Green disposal — refurbishing and reusing old computers and properly recycling unwanted computers and other electronic equipment

Green design — designing energy-efficient and environmentally sound components, computers, servers, cooling equipment, and data centers

Green manufacturing — manufacturing electronic components, computers, and other associated subsystems with minimal impact on the environment

The adoption of Green ICT principles and practices in industry can help U.S. manufacturers become more cost competitive and contribute to reducing our nation’s energy dependence.  Energy-efficiency studies show that a combination of improved operations, best practices, and state-of-the-art technologies can bring significant energy and electricity cost savings.  For example, employing simple power management techniques, by adjusting settings to “standby or sleep” mode when personal computers or printers are inactive during business hours, can achieve at least a 20 percent reduction in electricity consumption and result in average savings of $50 per year for each PC.  This means that power management of the 108 million desktop PCs in U.S. organizations could net around $5.4 billion.

More Information

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Technology and Electronic Commerce (OTEC) participated in a session on Green IT at the Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s National Conference in Orlando on May 5th.  OTEC’s Green IT presentation focuses on the impact that IT has on energy consumption and the role of Green IT in energy-efficiency and carbon abatement. It also provides a review of best practices and examples of the energy and cost savings that can be achieved through Green IT.  Click here for the presentation. 


Colorado Receives MDCP Award for Cleantech

December 17, 2009

Amy Reichert is the Director of Trade and Investment for the Americas at the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT).   

It took two tries, but this year our team of trade experts at the Colorado International Trade Office joined the ranks of MDCP recipients with a program tailored to promote exports of cleantech and environmental products and services to China and Mexico.  CO-EXist, or Colorado Export of Innovative and Sustainable Technologies, officially launches in January, 2010.

We vaguely knew about MDCP, but it wasn’t until we met another MDCP recipient at a trade show in Chile that we started to see its value and brainstormed ideas for a program of our own.  The International Trade Office (ITO) team enthusiastically began to form our proposal.

We explored markets and industries where we thought we could have an impact among Colorado exporters.  With a strong state-wide push to develop the “New Energy Economy”, we narrowed our industry focus to renewable energy.  But looking more closely at our base of potential exporters, we expanded the focus to incorporate all environmental technologies: water and wastewater infrastructure; air pollution control; energy efficiency; clean and renewable energy infrastructure and generation; waste management and recycling; monitoring and compliance; green building; transportation technologies; and the list goes on….

Maybe it’s our inherent desire to protect the natural beauty that is Colorado, or our deeply-rooted mining history, but we’ve long had a strong base of environmental companies, and we designed our program to capitalize on and further strengthen that core competitive advantage.  Colorado’s cleantech culture is evidenced by the fact that we are the first state in the nation to pass a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by a vote of the people.

Next up, picking our target markets.  We have some advantages in Mexico with an office in Mexico City, Spanish-speaking staff, and significant market demand.  It’s also often a market picked by first-time exporters.  China is also key.  It’s a large and growing market, but can be difficult to navigate, especially for small companies.  Through CO-EXist, and with the support of our MDCP team, we believe we can reduce risk and facilitate market entry for Colorado companies.

Although our first application was unsuccessful, the seeds had been planted.  Even without MDCP support, we began implementing components of our proposal – and with great success!  We applied again and were rewarded for our efforts.

Now with the full support of our MDCP team, and other local partners, we look forward to a fruitful partnership and many company success stories!


U.S. Firms Shining Bright (Green) in Copenhagen

December 14, 2009

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Frank Carrico is the Regional Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. He has also served the U.S. Commercial Service in Iraq, Brazil, Ukraine, Japan, and Germany.

Following Secretary Gary Locke’s whirlwind schedule on December 11th – featuring a breakfast for Bright Green companies hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Denmark; a bilat with Sweden’s Trade Minister Ewa Björling to discuss the EU Presidency and cleantech cooperation; and a long evening with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development – the “Bright Green” program began very early Saturday morning long before the trade show doors opened.  The Commercial Service’s (CS) Bright Green team helped the Secretary meet U.S. exhibitors, give remarks at a morning reception hosted by GE, visit with CS staff at the “Commerce/FedEx Meeting Place”, and formally open Bright Green with remarks focused squarely on the value of U.S. technology for mitigating climate change and for increasing jobs in the cleantech sector.

After the morning departure of the Secretary and his team, CS personnel turned full attention to the business of helping U.S. firms make the most of their time in Copenhagen, spending two hectic days coordinating matchmaking for our 40 U.S participants and partner companies with visiting Governors, foreign companies, officials, and royalty.  CS staff based in Copenhagen and colleagues from Stockholm, San Francisco, Lisbon, Oslo, the Hague, Helsinki, and Washington, DC, worked together to provide dynamic networking for all participants.  A detailed Cleantech Program Guide was widely circulated to COP15 delegates and the press to highlight the many exciting U.S. companies offering cleantech solutions.  The Governor of Washington, Chris Gregoire, was introduced to her State’s companies and updated on a May 2010 Swedish trade mission which will visit her State.  U.S. Ambassador to Denmark, Laurie Fulton, followed with a reception on Saturday evening for U.S. firms participating in Bright Green and their special guests.  Networking continued in full force throughout Sunday on the event floor at Bright Green, featuring special visits by NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco; Director of White House Science and Technology Office, John Holdren; and Energy Secretary Steven Chu.  Throughout the event, FedEx and CS personnel worked with U.S. companies and visitors to explore additional ways these companies could succeed in the European market, especially by participating in a planned April cleantech trade mission.  U.S. Ambassadors Matthew Barzun (Sweden) and Bruce Oreck (Finland) were also able to meet with the U.S. Green Building Council and GE executives to explore expanding cleantech programs for U.S. companies active in the European Union.

Finally, it was Sunday evening – at last the Bright Green team relaxed for a late meal together.  The mood was positive and the conversation still focused on how to help the companies who had participated at Bright Green; we all agreed to correspond at length on contacts and results.  Our hope is that many of these firms had concrete results, and we certainly intend to stay in touch and follow up.