Reshore, Reroute, Rebalance: A U.S. Strategy for Clean Energy Supply Chains

CSIS.org

May 19, 2021DOWNLOAD THE REPORT

Clean energy technologies are now big business. Vast sums of money in clean energy supply chains promise to rearrange the geopolitics of industrial competition and energy security. Further, to achieve their increasingly ambitious climate goals, countries are likely to do far more to reshape industrial sectors, compressing in a few years a process that normally takes decades.

This report looks at how the United States can strengthen supply chains for clean energy technologies through the lens of industrial competition, cybersecurity and trade policy. It finds that the United States can apply some of the mental models, tools, and institutions used for conventional energy sources to think about supply chains in clean energy—and grow its economy and boost its national security in doing so.

We advocate for building a strategic response to growing industrial competition in these markets, greater cybersecurity threats and more frequent trade disputes by focusing on three Rs: reshoring, rerouting and rebalancing.

  • Reshoring is about identifying the supply chains and technologies where the United States has a competitive advantage or is most vulnerable, and where a strategy would make sense to nurture these technologies and have them produced at home, both to overcome the country’s current lagging position but also as an investment in the future.
  • Rerouting means the United States should nurture ties with suppliers with limited or no geopolitical concerns, especially its long-time allies. It should also encourage supply diversification by going overseas and building new supply chains where the conditions are favorable.
  •  Rebalancing trade relationships to protect U.S. interests will also be crucial to securing these vital supply chains. This is a dynamic process of delineating threats, building interdependence, re-investing in international institutions, shaping the behavior of external suppliers, creating strategic buffers, and using deterrence when necessary.

Background: BNEF Scenario Analysis

The following analysis by BloombergNEF was commissioned by the CSIS Energy Security and Climate Change Program to inform this report and its project. We are making this publicly available for those looking for a deeper dive into our research and analysis.

Download: U.S. Trade Policy Cost Implications for Clean Energy

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