If you haven’t already heard about this through The Intersection blog, the Pew Charitable Trusts just released an updated report on “Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race.” Personally, I hope that all the G-20 countries will invest heavily in clean energies so the world can collectively “win”, but if we need a little competition to get people movin’ then I’m all for it. America seems to respond to competition better than long-term strategic goals alone (remember Sputnik).
It was promising to see that the clean energy economy is rapidly growing (investment growth of 230 percent since 2005) and fared better than other investments during the recession (declining only 6.6 % in 2009). Previously, Pew reported that “jobs in the clean energy economy grew at a national rate of 9.1 percent, while traditional jobs grew by only 3.7 percent between 1998 and 2007.”
The newest report emphasized that in 2010, the US fell behind not only China in clean energy investment ($34 billion compared to $54.4 billion), but also Germany with $41.2 billion invested. Germany leads in solar investment, while China and the US are most invested in wind (see the accompanying graph).
To quote the Pew report:
investors have noted ongoing uncertainty in United States policy as a key reason that capital is sitting on the sidelines, or looking for certainty and opportunity abroad. Concerns include a lack of clarity on the direction of energy policy, uncertainty surrounding continuation of key financial incentives (e.g., production and investment tax credits), and disproportionate government supports for century-old fossil energy sources.
Sounds like a little clean energy leadership from US law-makers could go a long way…