U.S. Clean Energy Lead Slips: Pew Report

For all the great news we see on an almost daily basis about American progress in the many fields of clean energy, one might be led to assume the nation was leading the way for the rest of the world. At one point that was true, but a recent report from The Pew Charitable Trusts indicates that, in some ways, we have some catching up to do in order to once again lay claim to the title as the world’s leading clean energy powerhouse.

The Pew Clean Energy Program’s new report, Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race?, looks at important financial, investment and technological trends as they relate to clean energy within the G-20.

image via Clean Energy Project NV

According to the report, the number one country, as of 2010, was China with a whopping $54.4 billion in clean energy investments for the year-that’s up 39% over 2009 and equal to the world total for 2004. Germany, which saw private investments double to $41.2 billion, took place number two, switching places with the US, which fell one notch to number 3 (the report notes that the US was number one right up until 2008) The biggest loser for 2010 was the UK, which fell from number 5 down to number 13.

The shifting around, according to Pew’s research, is a matter of national policy in regards to clean energy. Those countries that have adopted firm policy for things like renewable energy goals and carbon reduction targets attracted the big bucks from financiers because they provide a sense of certainty for their investments. That’s why China, India, Germany and Italy got so much financial attention last year. Meanwhile the US and the UK, who were accused of having rather “ambiguous” policies, saw potential funds going elsewhere.