Infographic: Why China is Kicking Our Ass in Clean TechBy Matthew Wheeland - July 20, 2011
Why China is Kicking Our Ass in Clean Tech
Over the past five years China’s renewable economy has been steadily growing and has now taken the first place spot over the U.S. From investing in clean tech to the active construction of wind farms and photovoltaic plants, China is kicking our American asses around the electric grid. Below are a few reasons why.
China has officially overtaken the U.S. in renewable energy investments and in total renewable energy produced annually.
Total renewable capacity:
- China: 103 gigawatts
- U.S.: 58 gigawatts
- China: 43,410 megawatts
- U.S.: 39,270 megawatts
- China: 800 megawatts
- U.S.: 3,100 megawatts
China is investing $9 billion a month in clean energy and is expected to become the world’s biggest market for wind and solar energy within 5 years. According to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the U.S. used to manufacture more than 40% of the world’s solar cells.
Solar Manufacturing Heads to China
Already, China’s commitment to the solar industry is spurring American technology companies to move their facilities across the Pacific. U.S. Evergreen Solar Inc. moved its production facilities from Massachusetts to China. GE shuttered its solar production facility in Delaware. BP’s solar unit in Maryland ceased production of solar panels in favor of importing panels from China.
Running on renewables
Currently the U.S. derives only 8% of its energy from renewable sources. In contrast, China derives 15% and should at least 20% by 2020.
Attracting renewable investments
In a recent report by Ernst & Young, global renewable markets were indexed according to their attractiveness for renewable investment. The U.S. placed second behind China.
All renewable energy (index points out of 100):
- China: 72
- U.S.: 67
- China: 78
- U.S.: 66
- China: 62
- U.S.: 74
- China: 79
- U.S.: 60
Investments in Renewables
China may produce a greater number of gigawatts and rank higher on global market charts, but could they possibly outspend us? Seemingly impossible for the largest economy in the world, but once again we have our proverbial butts handed to us on a fossil fuel platter.
Total renewable investment:
- China: $54.4 billion
- U.S.: $34 billion
- China: 88%
- U.S.: 61%
Distribution of investment by sector
- Wind: 72%
- Other renewables: 17.5%
- Solar: 6.3%
- Biofuels: 3.8%
- Efficiency & low-carbon services: .4%
- Wind: 43%
- Solar: 25%
- Biofuels: 17%
- Efficiency & low-carbon services: 9%
- Other renewables: 6%
Bombs or turbines?
What You Can Do About It
- Call (don’t email) your state government rep.
Your state government has the most power to create the kind of programs that spur job growth quickly, so if you’re only going to make one call, make it at the state government level, not federal. Get contact info at www.votesmart.org/mystate_summary.php
- Make sure your call counts.
A staffer will most likely take your call. Tell them, “I’m a voter calling in support of creating stronger renewable energy incentives and programs in our state. I’ve heard that New Jersey and other states have created a lot of new jobs through clean energy incentives. I’d like similar programs in our state.”
- Magnify your impact.
Encourage your friends and family to make the call. Here’s a sample Facebook status: “I want more jobs created in the U.S., so I called state representatives in support of stronger clean energy incentives in our state. You should do this, too. Visit www.votesmart.org/mystate_summary.php or Congress.org for contact info.”
- If you’re really fired up about this…
You can also call your senators and state representatives in Washington D.C., repeating all the steps mentioned. To get those numbers, go to Congress.org or call the main switchboard at (202) 225-3121 and ask for your state representative or congressperson.
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By Dave Llorens