China Invested $34.6 Billion in Clean Energy Last Year vs. $18.6 Billion in the U.S.


Image: Pew Environmental Group
"China Leads G-20 Members in Clean Energy Finance and Investment"
China might not be the most helpful country when it comes to putting together international carbon restrictions, but investors in the Middle Kingdom are forging ahead and putting more cash into renewables than any other country, including the United States, according to a new report by the Pew Environmental Group. They looked at renewable energy investments in 2009, and despite a pretty big hiccup due to the global recession, the overall trend is clear.
Image: Pew Environmental Group

As you can see above, the U.S. trails China by a pretty wide margin, with the UK and Spain being very close to each other.

Installed renewable energy capacity increased in 2009 to 250 gigawatts (GW), enough to power an estimated 75 million households and equivalent to 6 percent of the worldwide total.

G-20 nations account for more than 90 percent of worldwide finance and investment, dominating the clean energy landscape. Excluding basic research and development (R&D;), more than $110 billion was invested in the G-20's clean energy sector. Investment by virtually all G-20 countries has grown by more than 50 percent over the past five years. Rebounding from a sharp downturn in late 2008 and early 2009, clean energy investments in the G-20 averaged a robust $32 billion in each of the last three quarters of 2009.

Of course, capacity should not be confused with actual production (the so called capacity factor). A wind farm with 100 MW of capacity might be operating at a capacity factor of 30%, so on average, it produces 30 MW. That's definitely the biggest challenge with intermittent sources; how do you make sure that power is available when you need it, and how do you do that without driving up cost and complexity too much.

I think the U.S. should aim to do better, but it's not a zero-sum game. The more renewable energy anybody builds, the better for the planet.

Via Pew Environmental Group
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Tags: Alternative Energy | China