US Lagging China in Clean Energy Investments

The U.S. trailed in 2009 clean energy asset financing, with only $11.2 billion, while China led with $29.8 billion

China has emerged as the leading spender on clean energy investments and finance, according to the latest Pew Report.

In 2009, China invested $34.6 billion in the clean energy economy – nearly double the U.S. total of $18.6 billion. Over the last five years, the United States also trailed five G-20 members — Turkey, Brazil, China, the United Kingdom and Italy — in the rate of clean energy investment growth.

In “Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? Growth, Competition and Opportunity in the World’s Largest Economies,” Pew examines key financial, investment and technological trends related to G-20 members and the clean energy economy.

The report tracks and measures global investment activity – ranging from venture capital, initial public offerings from companies seeking to expand, mergers and acquisitions and lending for large-scale projects – in this sector. Pew found that the global clean energy economy has experienced remarkable growth:

“Even in the midst of a global recession, the clean energy market has experienced impressive growth,” Phyllis Cuttino, who directs the Pew Environment Group’s Global Warming Campaign, said in a statement. “Countries are jockeying for leadership. They know that investing in clean energy can renew manufacturing bases, and create export opportunities, jobs and businesses.”

The U.S. clean energy finance and investments lagged behind 10 G-20 members in percentage of gross domestic product. For instance, in relative terms, Spain invested five times more than the United States last year, and China and the United Kingdom three times more.

The United States did lead G-20 members in venture capital and private equity investments associated with technology innovation. However, it trailed in 2009 asset financing, with only $11.2 billion, while China led with $29.8 billion. Asset financing serves as a key barometer of clean energy deployment, job creation and business growth.

”The United States’ competitive position is at risk in the emerging clean energy economy,” said Cuttino. “Our nation has a critical choice to make: pass the federal policies necessary to position us as the world leader in the large and growing global clean energy market or continue to watch as China and other countries race ahead.”