Few Barriers for Renewables says U.S. Trade Commission

Few barriers exist in the market for renewable energy services, reports the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in its study Renewable Energy Services: An Examination of U.S. and Foreign Markets.

The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, fact-finding federal agency, conducted the investigation at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative. The report provides an overview of foreign and domestic markets for renewable energy services; examines trade and investment in renewable energy services markets, including barriers affecting such trade and investment; and discusses existing regulatory practices. Highlights of the report: — The United States is the world’s largest market for biomass and geothermal power, while Germany leads the market for wind power, Japan for solar power, and France for ocean power. — Government incentive measures designed to promote renewable energy, including those that stem from national obligations under international environmental agreements (such as the Kyoto Protocol), have played a leading role in the development of certain renewable energy sectors. Other factors such as technological advances that have improved the cost-competitiveness of renewable energy technologies, and concerns regarding the environment and energy security, have also contributed to the growth of certain segments of this industry. — Industry sources estimate that the global markets for services incidental to wind, solar, and biomass power production totaled approximately $3.8 billion, $2.8 billion, and $1.7 billion, respectively, in 2004. In that year, Germany was the largest market for wind power services, followed by the United States and Spain. Leading country markets for solar power services included Japan, Germany, and the United States. In the biomass segment, Finland led the worldwide services market in 2004, followed most closely by the United States. — There are few barriers that specifically affect trade and investment in the wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, or ocean energy production or services sectors. However, regulatory barriers that apply to incidental sectors, such as professional licensing provisions that apply in the consulting and engineering industries, as well as investment measures, land use provisions, and limitations on movement of persons that apply to trade and investment in all sectors, may affect trade and investment in the renewable energy industry. — Equipment used in the renewable energy industry is subject to a wide range of tariffs in different countries, though such tariffs reportedly are not a significant impediment to trade. Renewable Energy Services: An Examination of U.S. and Foreign Markets (Investigation No. 332-462, USITC publication 3805, October 2005) will be posted in the Publications area of the ITC Internet site at the link below. A printed or CD-ROM copy may be requested by calling 202-205-1809 or by writing the office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street, SW, Washington, DC, 20436. Requests may also be made by fax to 202-205-2104.

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