The race is on

The United States, once the top nation in renewable energy research, continued its decline in 2010.

In a new study, the Pew Charitable Trusts reported that China “has solidified its position as the world’s clean energy powerhouse. China attracted a record $54.4 billion in clean energy investments in 2010—a 39 percent increase over 2009 and equal to total global investment in 2004. Germany saw private investments double to $41.2 billion and was second in the G-20, up from third last year.”

The United States, in the top spot as recently as 2008, fell from second to third in 2010 with $34 billion in private clean energy investment.

In an analysis of the U.S. position, Pew reported, “At 11th place among G-20 members in terms of five-year growth in clean energy investments, and in view of ongoing policy uncertainty, the United States competitive position is at risk.”

Private U.S. investments in renewables went heavily to wind power, which collected 43 percent of the available funds. Solar took 25 percent, biofuels 17, low carbon tech/services 9 and others 6.

Read the report, “Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race?” 2010 edition at