It may be the Chinese new year, but according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in 2011 the US regained its place as the world’s number one investor in clean energy. The US has reclaimed the top spot from China which has been the leading country since 2008.
Bloomberg’s figures showed that total new global investment in clean energy increased 5 percent to $260 billion in 2011. A surge in solar technology investment – up 36 per cent from 2010 to $136.6 billion – drove the growth. Money spent on solar power was almost twice the $74.9 billion spent on wind power in 2011.
In 2011, U.S. total investment in clean energy surged to $55.9 billion, up 33 percent from 2010; China saw investment rise just 1 percent to $47.4 billion over the same time period.
Bloomberg attributes much of the increase in US investment to the government support. This includes initiatives such as the federal loan guarantee program, Treasury grant program and the Production Tax Credit.
The Treasury grant program expired at the end of 2011 and the remaining support measure for renewable energy, the Production Tax Credit, is scheduled to expire at the end of 2012. Bloomberg suggests we may see a rush to take advantage of the Production Tax Credit before it expires in 2012,
In 2013, if the credit is not extended, we may see a slump in US investment in clean energy. Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas has warned that 1,600 U.S. jobs are at risk if clean energy tax credits are not extended beyond this year.