Friday, November 20, 2009

Asia Outspending the U.S. 3:1 in Clean Energy Investment

This new report from The Breakthrough Institute should really rub all you patriots the wrong way (it sure left me frustrated!):

Asia is poised to dominate the fast-growing clean energy industry by outspending the United States by at least three-to-one on infrastructure and technology, according to a new report, Rising Tigers, Sleeping Giant, which was released today by the Breakthrough Institute and Information Technology and Innovation Foundation at an event hosted by the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee.

"Should the investment gap persist," the report warns, "the United States will import the overwhelming majority of clean energy technologies it deploys."

"Rising Tigers, Sleeping Giant" is the first report to comprehensively benchmark clean energy competitiveness and government investments in clean tech by China, Japan, South Korea, and the United States. These Asian governments will invest $519 billion in clean technology between 2009 and 2013, compared to $172 billion by the U.S. government. Climate and energy legislation, which passed the House in June, would contribute $28.7 billion of the $172 billion five year total. China alone will spend $440 billion to $660 billion over the next ten years on clean tech.

The direct, immediate, and coordinated nature of Asian government investments stands in contrast to the sporadic regulatory approach pursed in the United States. The report suggests that government investments will allow Asian nations to create innovation "clusters" of manufacturers, universities, R&D labs, suppliers and other firms, much as the Pentagon helped create Silicon Valley in the fifties and sixties. These clusters will be attractive to U.S. firms, the report argues, which are already making large investments in China.

It is painful to watch the Senate put off critical economic, security and environmental solutions bold Clean Energy legislation legislation until the spring.  Not to mention the idiocy of mainstream media outlets who keep referring to the Senate Bill as "environmental" legislation.

What's the solution?

"Small, indirect and uncoordinated incentives are not sufficient to outcompete Asia's clean tech tigers," the report says. "To regain economic leadership in the global clean energy industry, U.S. energy policy must include large, direct and coordinated investments in clean technology R&D, manufacturing, deployment, and infrastructure." 

Read the full report>>

Read Grist's Coverage of the Breakthrough Report, and Winning the Clean Energy Race>>

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