US Clean Energy Ambivalence Hurting Competitiveness

As President Obama prepares to outline a policy plan for America’s energy security on Wednesday, evidence emerged today that a lack of stable, across-the-board policy support for renewable energy is costing US industry dearly.  Despite the Administration directing much of stimulus funding at clean energy, The Pew Charitable Trusts announced that the U.S. slipped to third place in the amount of private clean energy investment directed to G-20 economies.  The United States received $34 billion in equity last year, a 51 percent increase from 2009, but the gap with China, which attracted a record $54.4 billion, continues to widen. Germany also attracted more money than the U.S. with $41.2 billion, claiming the number two spot, up from third the previous year.  

On a conference call about the report, Michael Liebreich, CEO of report co-author Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said the Administration’s funding of next-generation clean energy technology is a bright spot for the future, but that the lack of policies to create demand mean private investors are unlikely to buy in.

"The United States’ position as a leading destination for clean energy investment is declining because its policy framework is weak and uncertain,” said Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew’s Clean Energy Program. “We are at risk of losing even more financing to countries like China, Germany and India, which have adopted strong policies such as renewable energy standards, carbon reduction targets and/or incentives for investment and production. In today’s global economic race, the United States can’t afford to be to be a follower in this sector.”

Read the entire report here