China is world’s new leader in clean energy investment

The Pew Environment Group has released a report [1] which shows that China’s investments in clean energy have overcome the U.S. figures.
According to Pew, China now leads the way with $34.6 billion invested last year across all investment types—nearly double the U.S. figure of $18.6 billion.
In case these figures are not grim enough, the study also explains that over the last five years, America’s growth rate of clean energy investment has fallen behind that of Turkey, Brazil, the UK and Italy.
If clean technology is to pull the U.S. out of recession and form the basis of strong new industries to replace many dying ones, then this is a danger sign for America.
The study attributes the low figure to the lack of policy frameworks, financial incentives, priority loans, mandated clean energy targets, and other factors.
Indeed, countries with leading clean energy sectors as a percentage of their economy have all implemented relatively successful energy and climate policies. Leaders include China, Brazil, Spain, UK and Germany.
There is, however, a piece of good news for the U.S. in the study: the country is still the heart of cleantech innovation. The U.S. led other G-20 members in VC and private equity investments fueling cleantech innovation.clean energy 2009 investment by sector (Pew)

The Pew Environment Group has published a recent report (March, 2010) entitled “WHO’S WINNING THE CLEAN ENERGY RACE? Growth, Competition and Opportunity in the World’s Largest Economies.”

The report indicates that $162B was invested globally in clean energy, a growth of 230% since 2005.  For the first time, China took the top spot within the G-20 and globally for overall clean energy investment in 2009.  In fact, China’s investment in clean energy was more than double that of the US in 2009: China invested $34.6B, vs. $18.6B for the U.S.

In addition, 10 of the  G-20 members devoted a greater percentage of gross domestic product to clean energy than the United States did in 2009.

While the US has unquestioned strengths in innovation, its policies and national goals have not kept up with those of other countries — a trend which could make the US become more of a laggard in the near future.

Comments about the report from The CleanTech Group are here, and the complete Pew report is here.


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