September 16, 2011

US: Renewable Advisory Committee delivers recommendations to Under Secretary of Commerce and other federal officials

The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RE&EE) Advisory Committee will present 11 recommendations to promote U.S. exports of renewable and efficiency technologies to federal officials. The Committee was created as part of the Administration's Export Initiative which has set a goal of doubling renewable energy exports in the next five years, targeting $10 billion or more in annual export benefits. “The recommendations are the first set of actions the Committee was able to recommend to ensure robust growth in the renewable energy and energy efficiency exports by U.S. companies,” noted Karl Gawell, GEA's Executive Director, and Chair of the Advisory Committee.

The Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee (RE&EEAC) is scheduled to meet on September 15th to brief the Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce, the Acting Under Secretary of Energy, the Senior Vice President of the Export-Import Bank, and other officials in a day-long meeting at the Department of Commerce. (Meeting notice and agenda available here).

The 11 recommendations adopted by the Committee seek to enhance the competitiveness of the U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency industries, including addressing specific challenges associated with exporting. Suggestions range from the establishment of national level policies, workforce training and professional qualification programs, to calls for a study on factors that may affect the future competitiveness of the U.S. renewable energy industries through 2020 and research on benchmarking U.S. government policies and programs affecting RE&EE financing and R&D.

The Committee was established by Secretary of Commerce Locke in November 2010 as part of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Initiative. The Committee's first meeting was in December 2010, and it has held meetings in Washington D.C. and New York since that date to take input and prepare its initial recommendations. The Committee will continue to work and is expected to make additional recommendations before the expiration of its Charter in July 2012.

Click here to view the complete recommendations.

Here is a recap of the recommendations adopted by the Advisory Committee:

Recommendation 1: The United States should establish a national level policy with binding clean energy targets to ensure a viable, stable, and long-term domestic market for RE&EE goods and services.

Recommendation 2: The Department of Energy should modify its mission to include the promotion of U.S. economic competitiveness.

Recommendation 3: The effect on U.S. economic competitiveness should be taken into account before entering into bilateral research and development partnerships and in the evaluation of the effectiveness of such partnerships.

Recommendation 4: The Department of Energy should add an evaluation of the potential export market into its grant and loan application and selection process to assure the U.S. is developing and commercializing RE&EE technologies that can be exported competitively.

Recommendation 5: NIST/MEP and DOE/ITP should identify and adopt consistent international voluntary technical standards for RE&EE services and corresponding qualifications for E3 service providers.

Recommendation 6: Through workforce training and professional qualification programs, EPA, DOE and DOL ETA should work with MEP centers and local businesses and a growing number of E3 partner organizations to expand client access to RE&EE expertise.

Recommendation 7: Each E3 program client’s work plan should include local Export Assistance Center services for pre-export and export strategy counseling and USPTO consultations on how to protect IPR and new technologies in foreign markets.

Recommendation 8: Offer through the EX-IM Bank U.S. exporters a pre-export working capital loan guarantee to include expansion of U.S. manufacturing and services operations as a precursor to U.S. exports.

Recommendation 9: USTR should instruct the ITC to conduct a Section 332 Report that examines the global import market for renewable energy products and services and demand projections in leading markets. This report should also identify trends of U.S. market share in key import markets.

Recommendation 10: DOE/EERE in cooperation with the national labs should study:
  • Structures of the global renewable energy industries, including supply chain relationships and foreign direct investment;
  • Global production, consumption, sales, financing mechanisms, research and development, and business innovation in the renewable energy sector;
  • Benchmark U.S. government policies and programs affecting RE&EE financing, R&D, and local production against key foreign competitors; and
  • Factors that may affect the future competitiveness of the U.S. renewable energy industries through 2020.
Recommendation 11: Create a template MOU to be signed by SelectUSA and individual foreign investment entities to facilitate the connection of U.S. RE&EE companies and foreign sources of capital.

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