Democratic Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor announced recently the Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing and Export Assistance Act of 2011, legislation that would boost US exports of clean energy technology and services. The increased exportation would reportedly create thousands of jobs and support the already rapidly-growing clean energy industry.
Pryor’s legislation would set up a program within the Department of Commerce that would provide clean energy technology companies, from parts manufacturers to design companies, information and assistance to help them compete on a global scale. Working within this program, the International Trade Administration (ITA) would help companies understand and navigate foreign markets for optimal exporting and work on developing a National Clean Energy Technology Export Strategy. The program will also require the ITA to encourage policies that reduce production costs and promote innovation and investment in clean technology.
According to Pryor, Arkansas has considerable potential as a clean energy technology producer, and is already proving itself to be a leader in the field. The Pew Charitable Trust reported that Arkansas had 400 clean energy businesses, ranging from solar energy to water quality improvement, which generated over 4,500 jobs in 2007. The state is also home to several wind turbine manufacturing plants.
“The United States should be driving the clean energy economy. Instead we’ve taken a back seat and enabled other countries to reap the benefits of this jobs-rich industry,” Pryor said. “My legislation gives innovative, clean energy companies in the U.S. a competitive edge to market their goods and services abroad. In turn, their success will attract new investment, create new manufacturing capabilities and spur job creation.” He also cited the importance of providing comprehensive information about the global market to American businesses. “We just need to make sure these American companies can reach the right people overseas, and that’s where this new program can be a valuable resource.”