Clean Energy Manufacturing – We Make it Here
By Katie Klaber
It would be an understatement to say that the Clean Energy industry is having its time in the spotlight. Everywhere we look, there is activity, spurred by a combination of carbon reduction goals, public funding, and a retooling of an industry – energy – that impacts each of us in our everyday lives.
The multi-year Clean Energy Manufacturing project, funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission, administered by the Southwest Pennsylvania Commission and managed by Catalyst Connection, is in the middle of the action on behalf of our 47-county, tristate region and its manufacturers.
We likely each conjure a different picture of ‘clean energy’ in our mind’s eye, and none of them are wrong. But getting our arms around this extremely large and far-reaching industry has been the first task of the project. As a result, two major segments of the industry relevant to manufacturers have been defined as:
- Power Generation and Management – the inputs necessary to build and manage major energy generation and transportation sectors.
- Product-related – the components of products for energy-related supply chains.
Within each of these segments exist a robust and dynamic supply chain and therefore a wide range of opportunities for our region’s manufacturers. Future columns in this newsletter will dive deeper into each, providing additional resources and case studies related to the specific needs of each segment as it develops to serve regional, national and international markets.
Anticipating the market potential and timing of Clean Energy economy opportunities will be important for any manufacturer looking to expand in one or more clean energy sectors. The major drivers will include:
- geopolitical drivers including market demand for U.S. natural gas, global oil production and pricing, production of critical minerals necessary for battery technology, cyber threats with impacts to energy infrastructure, and many more,
- private sector activity, especially developments in our region with the potential to drive growth,
- public funding, such as the $400 billion administered by the U.S. Energy Department’s loan program and many grant programs spurred by federal legislation over the last few years and related state-specific programs,
- competition for these dynamic markets, including technical solutions, customer service, and go-to-market strategies.
In summary, the Clean Energy Manufacturing project exists to assist the region’s manufacturers in understanding, accessing and tapping the market potential in a fast-developing clean energy economy. This region has a strong track record in energy and manufacturing, and this next chapter will be as exciting as any that have come before it.