For the past 20 years, the clean energy sector has continuously grown. Due to the worldwide recession investments have declined about 6.6% in 2009 (163 billion $). The Pew Charitable Trusts has released its report “WHO’S WINNING THE CLEAN ENERGY RACE? Growth, Competition and Opportunity in the World’s Largest Economies” on Thursday, and it predicts a growth of 25% in clean energy investment for 2010 in G-20 countries.
For the first time, China has overtaken the U.S. and now leads in terms of investments for renewable energy projects. The report shows that China invested some 34.6 billion $, the U.S., coming second, 18.6 billion $. China’s administration has made the stratistic decision to become a world leader in the field, and has set some of the most ambitious targets.
The report sees the dawning of a new worldwide industry, with a growth in investment of 230% since 2005. Even during the recession the clean energy sector was able to prove its strength – after a sharp downturn in the last quarter of 2008 and first quarter of 2009, investments rebounded to a robust $32 billion in each of the last three quarters of 2009 within the G-20. Governments see clean energy development as a priority within economic recovery funding, with the bulk of incentives going to innovators, businesses and installers in 2010 and 2011. On this basis, the report concludes a 25% growth to 200 billion $ in 2010. In fact, this accounts for over 90% of worldwide finance and investment.
Virtually all G-20 countries have seen investments grow by more than 50% over the last five years, and research finds that such competitive positions of member countries are based on domestic policy decisions. Countries such as China, Spain, Germany and Brazil have strong, national policies aimed at reducing global GHG emissions and offer many incentives for the development and use of renewable energy. In order to take advantage of clean energy jobs and manufacturing nations are recommended to evaluate the array of policy mechanisms that can be employed to stimulate clean energy investment.
China has definitely taken this route, and with its ambitious targets for wind, biomass and solar energy has overtaken the U.S. and taken the lead for overall clean energy finance and investment in 2009.
This course of events gives reasons to be concerned about America’s competitive position in the clean energy marketplace. The United States’ clean energy finance and investments now lag behind many of its G-20 partners in relative terms. Spain invested 5 times more; China, Brazil and the United Kingdom invested 3 times more than the United States. In fact, ten G-20 states devoted a greater percentage of gross domestic product to clean energy than the United States in 2009. The U.S. is on the verge of losing its leadership position in installed renewable energy capacity, within China measuring up fast. The problem is the lack of strong, national policies. The U.S. policy framework remains uncertain, because appropriate legislation is being stalled in Congress. But the States strengths remain entrepreneurial traditions and innovation, therefore there is potential to recoup leadership in the future again. U.S. Senators John Kerry, a Democrat, Lindsey Graham, a Republican, and Joseph Lieberman, an independent, hope to release an outline of a compromise climate bill next month.
Leaders around the world have noted that the clean energy economy is emerging as one of the great global economic and environmental opportunities of the 21st century. Solar energy, wind power, biomass and efficiency are increasingly recognized as safe, reliable, clean energy resources that can be harnessed to create jobs and businesses, reduce dependence on foreign energy sources, enhance national security and reduce global warming.
Especially wind and solar power, as the primary recipient of clean energy investment in 2009, are seen as potentially powerful options for the future energy mix. Already wind energy accounts for more than 50% of worldwide clean energy investment and almost half of installed clean energy capacity worldwide.
In short, here’s another report that, based on solid research, concludes that renewable energy and efficiency is a great opportunity for 21st century, and that now is the time for governments to come up with the relevant national policies!