Despite the opposition, the accusations of corruption associated with Solyndra and unyielding obstinance against any energy policy paradigm shift, the US has taken the lead once again in the realm of clean energy investment. This increase in private investment provides a glimmer of hope that the private sector is recognizing the benefits of shifting away nonrenewables. With renewables representing much larger share of energy production in Europe than they do in the US, perhaps this private sector investment will motivate politicians in Washington to take note and renew the tax credits & government investment for new clean energy business ventures to maintain our country’s competitiveness.
By Kerry Sheridan | AFP
The United States has regained the lead in the clean energy race, investing $48 billion last year to surpass China, which held the world’s top spending spot since 2009, said a study Wednesday.
The US surge in private investment was a 42 percent increase over 2010 and saw Washington maintain its lead worldwide in both venture capital and research and development cash, said the Pew Charitable Trusts annual report on clean energy.
However, the US boom was largely driven by expiring tax incentives, highlighting “a persistent phenomenon in which the country fails to deploy into the marketplace the clean energy innovations it creates in the laboratory,” it said.
The Pew report, which focused on private investment in Group of Twenty (G20) nations, also found that total worldwide private investment rose 6.5 percent over 2010 to a record level of $263 billion.
“Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and India were also among the nations that most successfully attracted private investments last year,” it said.
Germany ranked third in 2011 after soaring to second place in 2010 as it ramped up both solar and wind power. Private investment dropped five percent last year compared to 2010.
“Germany now obtains more energy from renewable sources than it does from nuclear power, coal, or natural gas,” said the report, adding that Italy has also surged, surpassing Germany’s deployment of 7.4 gigawatts (GW) of solar.