Four U.S. departments and four agencies launched an initiative on Dec. 7 to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency exports.

According to a news release from the U.S. Commerce Department, the initiative is to support the exporters by offering new financing products, enhancing market access, increasing trade promotion and improving the delivery of export promotion services.

The initiative follows the formation of an advisory committee composed of 28 members including John P. Smirnow, an attorney in the Washington office of Atlanta-based law firm King & Spalding LLP who is to represent the Solar Energy Industries Association; Edward C. Lowe, general manager, renewable energy market development, GE Energy and Bryan Ashley, chief marketing officer of Norcross-based Suniva Inc.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke chaired on Dec. 7 the first meeting of the committee, which is to advise him on the development and implementation of programs and policies that would help to expand the competitiveness of the U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency industries.

To support the initiative, the federal government is launching a new online portal to provide renewable energy companies easy access to U.S. government export resources, and the Commerce Department is to increase its number of related trade missions.

In addition, the government is to:

·create foreign buyers guides for relevant technologies,

·commit the Overseas Private Investment Corp. to invest an additional $300 million in financing for renewable resource projects in emerging markets and additional new products for energy efficiency subordinated debt financing and clean energy technology equipment leasing;

·streamline financing applications at both the Overseas Private Investment Corp. and the Export-Import Bank;

·form a new subcommittee at the Office of the U.S Trade Representative to address market access barriers facing the U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency industries in foreign markets and

·expand the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program to include biomass wood pellets. (Currently, the program focuses on biofuel products but not biomass.)

The initiative was developed through the Trade Promotion Coordinate 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, the Overseas Private Investment Corp., the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

“The initiative lays the foundation necessary to help U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency companies take better advantage of current market opportunities,” Mr. Locke said. “It also positions federal government programs to better support U.S. global competitiveness in these sectors over the long run.”

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