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The U.S. International Trade Commission announces the release of
Renewable Energy and Related Services: Recent Developments

USITC Publication 4421


Global demand for renewable energy services (consulting, engineering, construction, equipment maintenance and repair, etc.) has grown rapidly in the past five years as countries have worked to meet rising energy needs, reduce carbon output, and strengthen energy security, reports the U.S. International Trade Commission in its most recent publication.

Produced at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the report estimates the U.S. and global markets for, and discusses barriers to, trade and investment in services that are essential to the development, generation, and distribution of renewable energy.

The USITC found:

  • Though few trade barriers apply specifically to the provision of renewable energy services, local content requirements applied to renewable energy equipment in many countries act as significant barriers to trade in related services, the agency found.

  • Global renewable energy capacity more than doubled to 653 gigawatts between 2007 and 2012, while global investment stood at a record $244 billion in 2012, up 71 percent during that period. While data on renewable energy services are not available, capacity and investment growth indicate similar growth in related services.

  • The United States is consistently among the largest markets for renewable energy services, alongside Europe and Asia, particularly China.

  • The value of global solar photovoltaic services associated with installations was estimated to be $34 billion in 2011. The largest markets for such services were Italy ($9.8 billion), Germany ($5.1 billion), the United States ($3.1 billion), and Japan ($3.0 billion).

  • The global market for services related to installation of wind equipment was estimated at nearly $23 billion in 2011, with the largest markets including China, the United States, Germany, and Canada. The global market for wind operations and maintenance services in 2011 was estimated at $6.2-$7.2 billion, with Europe believed to account for roughly half of that market.

  • The value of the global market for services associated with all hydropower installations in 2010 was nearly $71 billion, of which small hydropower accounted for an estimated $2.3 billion.

  • Geothermal installation services in the global market were estimated at $315 million in 2010, while the operations and maintenance of existing geothermal facilities required services expenditures estimated at $2.5 billion.

  • Trade barriers affecting renewable energy services primarily include general investment restrictions and measures that impede the free movement of service providers. While local content requirements do not typically target service providers, they often serve as de facto barriers to services provision as many wind and solar equipment manufacturers provide services in tandem with the sale of their goods.

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