Clean energy investments rise 630% in 7 years

Jeremy Hance
March 29, 2011

According to a report by the US Pew Environment Group global clean energy investments, which do not include nuclear power, jumped 630% since 2004. The report detailing 2010 clean energy investments found that China remains the global leader in clean energy, while the US fell from 2nd to 3rd. This is the second year in a row that the US fell: in 2009 it lost first place to China. In all $243 billion were invested in clean energy in 2010.

Germany, with an investment of $41.2 billion, rose above the US to take the number two spot in 2010. The US invested $34 billion. But China beats them all with an investment of $54.4 billion, making up nearly a quarter of the global investment.

"The United States' position as a leading destination for clean energy investment is declining because its policy framework is weak and uncertain," the director of Pew's Clean Energy Program, Phyllis Cuttino, said on announcing the findings.

US President Barack Obama and congress failed to pass a comprehensive energy and climate bill last year. After a brutal election for Obama's democrats last fall, the US House was taken by Republicans, who recently voted officially that climate change was not occurring. Republicans have also refused to cut $4 billion in subsidies to oil companies.

"There had been a theory out there that China was rising so fast in clean energy because of its low labor costs," Jennifer Granholm, a former Michigan governor and adviser to Pew, told Reuters. "This is not about labor costs. This is about policy."

The clean energy form of choice was solar last year, rising by 53% from 2009 levels. In all $79 billion was invested in solar energy in 2010. Investment in wind rose by 34% from 2009 levels. Meanwhile, biofuels, which have been under attack for environmental destruction and competing with food production, fell to its lowest point since 2005.

India also entered the Top 10 for the first time with an investment of $4 billion, while the UK fell out of the Top 10 to number 13.

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Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (March 29, 2011).

Clean energy investments rise 630% in 7 years.