Clean Energy Investment Is Up, but U.S. Lags

ImagePew Environment Group

A study released Tuesday by the Pew Environment Group suggests that investment in clean energy among the world’s 20 leading economies, a k a the G-20, is generally on the rebound after a grinding global recession.

It also suggests that the narrative in the United States, which has been marked by partisan bickering and general paralysis over energy and climate policy, continues to weaken its position as a locus for investment.

China drew 22 percent of the $243 billion in clean energy investments last year, or $54.4 billion — up from $39.1 billion in 2009. Coming in second place, and nudging the United States down a rung over last year, was Germany, which drew $41.2 billion, up from $20.6 billion in 2009.

The United States drew $34 billion, up from $22.5 billion over 2009.

Phyllis Cuttino, the director of the Pew Clean Energy Program, said that many critics explained China’s sudden dominance in recent years of the clean energy arena as a function of its top-down, autocratic government, which can more readily control the market there. But such arguments make less sense when looking at Germany, she said, where leaders and voters appear to be simply making clear policy decisions in support of clean energy.

“That’s not so easy to dismiss,” Ms. Cuttino said.

One bright spot for the United States: it remains the favored playground for particular sorts of investment: venture capital and private equity financing.

Though the report notes that these account for only about 4 percent of clean energy investments over all (most of the rest runs the gamut from internal asset financing and public markets to investments in small-scale projects), venture capital and private equity are crucial bellwethers of the health of the clean-tech sector.

“Venture capital financing in 2010 rebounded from sharp declines the previous year to record a gain of 26 percent, for a total of $8.1 billion,” the report said.

The United States scooped up $6 billion, or roughly three-quarters of that.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s