The current issue of Manufacturing & Technology News includes a feature article, “Asian Nations Dominate Renewable Energy Industries,” based on our recent report, “Rising Tigers, Sleeping Giant.”  The article notes:

The United States has fallen behind China, Japan and South Korea in the race to commercialize and produce clean energy products and systems, according to the Breakthrough Institute and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

“Asian nations are set to dominate the clean energy race by out-investing the United States,” says a report from the two organizations entitled “Rising Tigers, Sleeping Giant.” The three countries “have already passed the United States in the production of virtually all clean energy technologies and over the next five years, the governments of these nations will out-invest the United States three-to-one in these sectors.”

By investing public funds into clean technologies, R&D and infrastructure, private-sector investment will quickly follow, totaling in the trillions of dollars over the coming decade. “While some U.S. firms will benefit from the establishment of joint ventures overseas, the jobs, tax revenues and other benefits of clean tech growth will overwhelmingly accrue to Asia’s clean tech tigers,” the report concludes. Asian nations will “capture economies of scale, learning by doing and innovation advantages before the United States, where public investments are smaller, less direct and less targeted. Should the investment gap persist, the United States will import the overwhelming majority of clean energy technologies it deploys.”

As the article mentions, our report projects the governments of Asia’s rising “clean technology tigers” will invest far more than the U.S. government in the development and deployment of clean-tech over the next five years:

Chinese investment in clean energy technologies surpassed U.S. investment in 2008. China, South Korea and Japan will invest $509 billion in clean technology from 2009 to 2013. The U.S. investment is expected to be $172 billion, “a sum that assumes the passage of the proposed American Clean Energy and Security Act and includes current budget appropriations and recently enacted economic stimulus measures,” says the study. China is planning to invest up to $660 billion over the next 10 years.

As a result of this public investment gap, these nations are expected to dominate many of these industries, including advanced hybrid and electric vehicles, wind and solar power, nuclear energy, and high-speed rail:

The United States imports most of its solar cells and a majority of its wind turbines. It is losing ground on hybrid and electric vehicle technology and manufacturing. It does not have a nuclear reactor vendor, nor does it have a manufacturer of high-speed rail systems…

By 2012, China, Japan and Korea expect to be producing 1.6 million hybrid gas-electric or electric vehicles per year. The U.S. is projected to produce one-fifth as many: 267,000. Japan has unveiled a program to increase domestic solar power capacity by a factor of 20 by 2020. China has plans to deploy up to 86 gigawatts of nuclear power by 2020.

The United States produced 2.4 gigawatts of wind turbines in 2007. China produced 8 gigawatts of turbines.

The United States imported 50 percent of the components for the 8.5 gigawatts of wind turbines installed. It ran a trade deficit in wind generating sets of $2.5 billion in 2008, up from $365 million in 2003.

“Even though the United States has the largest wind market in the world, only one of the top 10 wind turbine manufacturers in the world is American,” says the report, located at http://thebreakthrough.org/blog/Rising_Tigers.pdf.

The full article requires a subscription at Manufacturing Technology News.

 

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