Who’s winning the clean energy race ?

The PEW environment group published a fantastic study on the cleantech investment in the G20 in 2009. The largest economies, both developped and developping are very different in this economic sector.

China overtook the United States in cleantech investments with more than $34 billion while the latter dedicated less than $19 billion. The European Union as a group of 27 countries is leading with more than $40 billion.

It seems this is only the beginning as PEW notes that ” Clean energy investments are forecast to grow by 25 percent to $200 billion in 2010.”


According to PEW : “ The total global renewable energy capacity is 250 GW. ” Out of these, 52.2 GW are installed in China and 49.7 in the United States. The European-Union’s capacity is of 87.6 GW.

As a country, China took the lead last year in cleantech investments with as much as $34.6 billion (25.7 billion euros), the United States are well behind with only $18.6 billion (13.9 billion euros).

Brazil amazed me with as much as $7.4 billion (5.5 billion euros). I wonder how much of this money is not dedicated to biofuels. India invested $2.3 billion (1.7 billion euros).

Japan is surprisingly low with only $800 million (600 million euros). I thought that a country known for its massive solar programs would make more efforts on cleantech.

In the European Union

The 27 members of the European Union invested more than 40 billion US Dollars in cleantech in 2009. This is an important sum of money but not all members gave the same importance to this economic sector.

Indeed, the United Kingdom and Spain are leading with more than 10 billion US Dollars each. This is as much as the 22 nations that dedicated the least money to cleantech.

France is once again lagging with only $1.8 billion. Out of this, 63 percent were dedicated to wind power and 19.2 percent to solar. (page 27)

It would be interesting for the 27 to have a comprehensive cleantech plan where each nation would take part in a collective project.

In any case, this is just the beginning of the cleantech arms race, so be sure that I will keep you updated with news on the subject.

By Edouard

Edouard is a sustainability and energy professional committed to bringing our societies to a carbon neutral future. He has been writing on related topics on this very blog since 2007.


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