In terms of finance and investment, the clean energy sector has grown by a staggering 630 percent since 2004. In 2010, worldwide finance and investment in clean energy reached $243 billion – a 30 percent growth. But where does the United States fall in the global scheme of things? Many are concerned that our nation is being left lagging behind, and they have the numbers to prove it.
Despite holding the top spot (in 2008), the most recent reports show the U.S. coming up short, contributing $34 billion – a 51% increase over the funds received in 2009 – in terms of private investment, and ranking third in the world to countries such as China and Germany who received $54 and $41 billion respectively.
China’s record $54.4 billion in clean energy investments in 2010 represents a 39 percent increase over 2009 and equal to total global investment in 2004, while Germany saw its private investments double to $41.2 billion.
Venture capital funds helped the US remain the leader in innovation with clean energy, but with that total only equaling $6 billion it still feels like there’s a lot of money being left on the table. And it begs the question: should the government be more involved with the pursuit and, ultimately, investment of funds for clean energy?
An article from renewablesbiz.com states that’s just what is being considered. Through a variety of methods – such as clean coal, nuclear, wind, water and solar – Obama’s administration is seeking ways to decrease the US’ reliance on antiquated and harmful power sources, and looking to put money back in the coffers by securing investments alongside its own to offset the admittedly high price the government would have to pay to make these plans a reality.
Unfortunately, criticism seems to be coming from anyone with a voice. With the terrifying situation continuing to unfold in Japan, many Democrats are skeptical about nuclear power while Republicans have stated an unwillingness to see money spent on any unproven methods.
One thing is clear, however. While there may not be an easy fix for the investment and development of alternative clean energy sources, it shouldn’t scare off the government from at least advancing the discussion of creating clean energy. This week we discussed Google’s efforts in helping to lead the charge in the private sector, but Google doesn’t have the sway over public opinion the way the government does. Ultimately, we think that is truly what will help move our nation’s clean energy initiatives – and our planet – forward.