Remarks by Under Secretary Lago - September 23, 2022

David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh, PA
September 23, 2022

As Prepared for Delivery

Good afternoon and thank you for joining us for this panel on “Unlocking Capital for Clean Energy Projects around the World.” I am Marisa Lago, the Under Secretary for International Trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce.  

It is such a pleasure to be back in Pittsburgh today for the first time since the late 1970’s. I have been inspired to see this storied city transition from a center of heavy industry covered in soot to a glistening, cutting edge tech hub—a transformation from which we can all draw inspiration as we gather to advance clean energy action worldwide.

I am thrilled to be joined by an impressive, all-female group of panelists, including my valued U.S. Government colleagues Enoh Ebong, Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and Reta Jo Lewis, President and Chair of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, as well as Lynée Bradley, Director for Export and Agency Finance at Citibank.

We are fortunate to hear from this group of public and private sector leaders in climate and energy finance. While our roles vary, we are united by a commitment to combatting climate change by supporting clean energy and clean tech investments globally—a mission that grows more urgent each day. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad—accelerating the clean energy transition and striving for net-zero domestic emissions by 2050. 

We are passionate about this work because it is the right thing to do for our planet. We are equally excited because they clean energy transition will create millions of well-paying, 21st Century economy jobs and drive the United States’ continued leadership in the low-carbon and clean energy sectors.  But we can only accomplish this ambitious vision by aligning efforts across the public and private sectors. 
This work is already well underway, and I am proud that the International Trade Administration team is playing a pivotal role, in close collaboration with our colleagues across government—including those on this stage. Over the past year alone, we have helped U.S. companies export more than 2.5 billion dollars in the climate and clean tech sectors. And our SelectUSA program has garnered some ten times that in foreign direct investment in the U.S. climate and clean tech sectors. Together, these two initiatives have supported over 25,000 jobs.  That’s a big number—that’s more employees than can fit in New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

ITA carries out this work through our teams of employees who are in over 100 U.S. cities—including Pittsburgh—and 70 markets around the globe. ITA’s deep local knowledge of U.S and global markets, coupled with our one on one work with U.S. companies,  moves the needle for U.S. businesses—meeting by meeting, deal by deal. ITA’s specialists can connect, say, a small manufacturer in Rhode Island to an offshore wind developer from Denmark in time to meet a pressing proposal deadline.

As our panelists can attest, the U.S. market has immense hunger for clean tech. And, in turn, the world wants to be in business with us—investing in the robust U.S. market, which is characterized by a skilled workforce, extensive IP protections, and top-notch research and financing options. Equally, the world is looking to rely on the United States’ cutting edge technology exports to meet their climate goals at home.   
This hunger is accelerating innovation and progress, as one after another forward-looking clean technology graduates from concept to commonplace. What was once novel is now a necessity, and I know that our panelists are driven to accelerate this transition even further.