global renewable energy markets
THOMAS BAUER/ SCHOTT
The huge investments flowing from China, Europe and Japan are intended not just to transform their
energy sectors, but also to transform their economies by wresting technological and production leadership from the United States.
(GW) in 2010, again roughly double the U.S.
total. For the past year, China has been atop
the Ernst & Young index of renewable energy
investment attractiveness, displacing the United
States, which had held the top spot from 2006 to
Further, China’s State Council (the national
cabinet) in September was reviewing two major
energy plans. According to a September brief
from the Center for American Progress, the
first, a five-year renewable energy plan, focuses
on significantly increasing solar targets — from
700 megawatts as of year-end 2010 to 10 GW
of installed solar capacity by 2015, and 50 GW
total by 2020. The second is a set of massive
funding proposals for seven “strategic emerging industries,” one of which is environmentally
friendly and energy-efficiency technologies. The
Chinese are betting that renewables will be the
next critical energy market and are positioning
themselves to dominate this market.
PV CAPITAL EQUIPMEN T
Solar Industry Trade Flows, 2010
In 2010, the net exports of solar products from the United States to other countries were $1.9 billion, an increase
of $1 billion from 2009. The net U.S. exports of solar goods to China were at least $247 million.
PV CAPITAL EQUIPMEN T $1,404M
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
PV FEEDS TOCK
PV FEEDS TOCK
Japan Shifts to Renewable Power
In may, then-Prime minister of Japan Naoto
Kan said that the nation would respond to the
Fukushima disaster by abandoning plans to build
14 new reactors and creating a new energy policy. While Japan would keep its existing nuclear
and fossil fuel energy sources, Kan emphasized
that Japan would add two additional pillars to
its energy mix: renewable energy and conservation. “Taking [Fukushima] as a lesson, we will
lead the world in clean energy such as solar and
biomass,” he predicted.
on Aug. 27, the Japanese legislature began
implementing these goals by passing a bill that
subsidizes electricity from renewable sources.
The bill includes feed-in tariffs and requirements
for utilities to buy renewable electricity, among
other incentives that guarantee an above-market
return for solar, wind and geothermal power.
32 November/December 2011 SOLAR TODA Y solartoday.org
$14M NET EXPORTS
Source: “U.S. Solar Energy Trade Assessment: 2011” (GTM Research and SEIA)
To Seize Opportunities, U.S. Must
Invest in Manufacturing
Plainly, these massive, long-term commitments to renewable energy and energy efficiency from the world’s other large economies
create equally large opportunities for America’s
renewable energy and efficiency industries. U.S.
industries remain technological leaders that are
well-positioned to capture their share of the hundreds of billions of dollars flowing into renewable energy around the world.