Report: U.S. falls behind China, Germany in clean energy
The United States slipped one spot to third place in clean-energy investment last year despite President Obama's push to promote non-p0lluting sources of power, says a report Tuesday.
Until 2008, the U.S. had held the top spot, but it has since been eclipsed by China, which ranks no. 1, and Germany, which has taken over the no. 2 spot, according to the report "Who's Winning the Clean Energy Race" by the Pew Charitable Trusts, an independent, nonprofit group.
"The United States' position as a leading destination for clean energy investment is declining because its policy framework is weak and uncertain," Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew's Clean Energy Program, said in announcing the findings. She warns the U.S. could fall further behind as competitors adopt renewable energy standard and incentives for investing in solar, wind and other forms of clean energy.The Democratic-led Congress failed last year to pass a comprehensive energy and climate bill that would have required polluters to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency is now moving to regulate those emissions, but the new GOP-controlled House is seeking to stop that.
The United States invested $34 billion in clean energy last year, a 51% increase from 2009, but China invested more -- a record $54.4 billion -- as did Germany, $41.2 billion, according to the report. Those two countries have minimum clean-energy targets. The United States still led the world the world in energy efficiency with $3.3 billion in investment.
- Globally, 2010 clean energy finance and investments grew by 30% last year to a record $243 billion.
- Regionally, Europe remained the leading recipient, attracting $94.4 billion, led by Germany and Italy ($13.9 billion), which ranked fourth among countries.
- The Asia/Oceania region, led by China, continued its sharp rise, attracting $82.8 billion, a 33% increase over the previous year.
- The Americas also saw investment grow 35%, but as a region it remains a distant third, attracting $65.8 billion.
- Investments in small-scale, residential solar in G-20 countries grew by 100% to $56.4 billion. Germany accounts for more than half the total, followed by Japan, France, Italy and the United States.
- Installed generating capacity increased to 388 gigawatts from wind, small-hydro, biomass, solar, geothermal and marine, with China accounting for more than 25 percent of the global total.