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Print 26 comment(s) - last by shaidorsai.. on Apr 27 at 8:14 AM

China is spending nearly three times as much on clean energy as the U.S.

Whether it's the smartphone market or high-speed rail, China has either surpassed the U.S. or is expected to surpass the U.S. in many sectors.  According to a new report [PDF] by the non-partisan Pew Research Center, clean energy is no exception to this trend; 2012 marketed the first year China assumed the title of king of clean energy, bumping the U.S. down the stack.

The U.S was clean energy's "biggest loser", according to the Pew report, with American clean energy investment (which excludes research and development spending) falling to $35.6B USD in 2012 -- a 37 percent plunge.  That fall helped trigger an 11 percent decline in global spending, which dipped to $269B USD in 2012.

Meanwhile in China the opposite was happening.  Owing to the strong growth, Asia's clean energy sector grew 16 percent as the global market contracted.  Buoyed by China, clean energy investment in the sector soared to $101B USD last year -- 42 percent of the global total. 

Clean energy spending
Fueled by China, Asia became the top clean energy region in 2012. [Image Source: PRC]

The Pew report comments:

The competition among countries for clean energy leadership is resulting in a reshuffling of the old order. In 2012, China advanced its position as the epicenter of clean energy finance, attracting $65.1 billion in investment, 20 percent more than in 2011 and an unsurpassed 30 percent of the G-20 total.  It garnered 25 percent of all solar energy investment, setting a one-year record with $31.2 billion invested. China also accounted for 37 percent of all wind energy investment ($27.2 billion) and 47 percent of the investment in the “other renewable energy” category ($6.3 billion) that includes small hydro, geothermal, marine, and biomass.
All told, 23 GW of clean energy generating capacity was installed in China in 2012.

Although the United States invented many of the leading clean energy technologies, it continues to underperform in investment and deployment relative to the size of its economy and its history in the field. 

China has been spending big on nuclear, wind, and solar power installations.

China windmills
Chinese windmills turn on a hillside. [Image Source: Thinkstock]

Aside from China, developing nations also showed strong growth.  Nations outside the pack of the world's twenty richest nations -- the so-called Group of 20, or G-20 -- saw roughly $20B USD in green energy spending, a 50 percent rise.  Solar and other technologies are increasingly being considered to provide low-cost power in remote regions.

Speaking of solar, that's one bright spot amid the general decline in investment.  With heavy investment in small, residential projects, solar only declined 1.6 percent to $76.8B USD in 2012.  A record 3.2 gigawatts (GW) of solar power was installed in the U.S. last year.  Residential solar saw a 42 percent growth.

The U.S. and others have long cited China as the world's biggest polluter. Now it can revel in the distinction of being the "greenest" power-producing superpower.

Source: Pew Research Center [PDF]



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RE: The sky is falling... I mean the USA is falling.
By Mint on 4/23/2013 5:48:38 PM , Rating: 2
If your goal is to increase unemployment, sure, you can do that.

The private sector isn't going to create demand out of thin air. Today it has cheap, idle, plentiful capital and labor yet is barely hiring as fast as population growth. What do you think is going to happen when people/companies dependent on gov't employment/contracts lose income/revenue? More layoffs.


By KCjoker on 4/23/2013 5:59:33 PM , Rating: 2
It would get worse before it gets better. However that's far better than the alternative which we are doing now. Right now we just going further and further down. Rip the band aid off and get it over with.


RE: The sky is falling... I mean the USA is falling.
By Mint on 4/23/2013 8:00:42 PM , Rating: 2
There's no indication that it will ever get better. The current trajectory is ugly, but it's better than making it worse.

The bandaid has already been ripped off. Private debt growth has been a crutch for the US economy for 25 years before the recession. Whatever high income earners didn't want to spend/invest was put in bank accounts (or near equivalents), and it was the banks' responsibility to lend all of it back out so that the economy didn't stagnate.

It too much now. The banks have proven they can't lend that much without screwing up, and even if they were less greedy/deceptive, IMO it's an impossible task anyway. Even with with near 0% interest rates, people with money continue to save as opposed to consuming.

Without more consumption from those who can afford it, there will be no reason to ramp up hiring for current production and no reason to ramp up investment for future production. That's the bottom line.

Lower gov't spending and does nothing to solve this fundamental demand issue in the short or long term; in fact, it makes it worse.


By shaidorsai on 4/27/2013 8:14:04 AM , Rating: 2
Your line of reasoning is the exact reason the economy in the US is not recovering. Government does not create jobs or stimulate the economy. Every dollar the government grabs from someones paycheck shrinks the economy in the private sector through loss of spendable income by the person who actually earned the dollar. Government taxation and spending is a drain on every aspect of the economy with no benefit to anyone but government workers. There is no expansion of the private sector, nor will there be, until government stops stealing private cash and lets the people who earned it go out any buy products they need.

It is absolutely mind boggling that people buy into this ridiculous idea that government taxation and borrowing (debt) is somehow going to make anything better. Nothing will get better in the US until government spending and taxation are both reduced dramatically.


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