Renewable Energy and Smart Grid Suppliers Forum: Emerging Market Opportunities for U.S. Firms


Developing countries are transforming their energy industries at an unprecedented pace, with investments by utilities and governments driving consistent growth in U.S. exports [1]. Many developing countries are exploring smart grid deployments and have advanced regulatory frameworks and extensive pilot projects in place.  

The USAID-funded Climate Economic Analysis, Development, Investment, and Resilience (CEADIR) and the Environmental Communication, Learning, and Outreach (ECO) Activities convened a Renewable Energy and Smart Grid Suppliers Forum for U.S. suppliers of utility-scale products and services interested in scaling up or beginning sales to developing country markets. The forum in Denver, Colorado on May 1, 2018 was funded by the E3 Global Climate Change Office (GCC). Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) was a media partner for the event.

This forum focused on the U.S. private sector and was attended by approximately 70 participants. Speakers represented leading US suppliers of utility-scale solar, wind, smart grid, and energy storage products and services as well as industry associations, and energy analysts.  Attending U.S. Government agencies and programs included the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Power Africa.
Key topics included:

  • Opportunities and barriers for clean energy firms looking to invest in emerging markets from private sector representatives with extensive first-hand experience, with in-depth discussions tailored to specific technologies and regional markets
  • Future development of grids and power systems in emerging markets
  • Alternative business models based on standardization and centralization of operations and products vs. localization
  • Operating in environments with varying grid qualities, utility capacity and finances, and distribution systems
  • Importance of mini-grids and distributed generation in future power systems
  • Role of reverse auctions and private-public partnerships
  • Importance of IT solutions, digitalization, and cybersecurity
  • Utilizing experience and lessons from operating in US markets
  • Potential areas of USAID and USG support

Breakout group discussions were organized by types of technology and market regions. 

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Videos (full YouTube playlist):




[1] International Trade Administration, ITA Smart Grid Top Markets Report, 2015.