By Larry Dignan
Posting in Energy
The United States and China are in a race for cleantech supremacy akin to the space race in the 1960s, according to a report. The race is also a duel between economic models.
The United States and China are in a race for cleantech supremacy akin to the space race in the 1960s, according to a report from PwC.
This cleantech race has high stakes and will forge a new commercial diplomacy according to PwC, an accounting and consultant firm. PwC said in a report:
The potential scale and political urgency of these emerging industries—along with ambitious national targets for rollouts—bear a semblance of the Space Race of the 1960s. While cleantech companies in both countries are in many cases locked in head-to-head competition to become major players in these developments, there also exist intersections where US and Chinese companies are partnering in ways that play to each other’s strengths while closely aligning with national clean energy policies. Successful partnerships could potentially hold significant growth opportunities both within and beyond US and Chinese markets.
The report is worth a read and highlights a bevy of key points. Among the notable findings:
- Incentives for clean tech investing has turned China into the world's largest market for wind turbines.
- China products a third of all the solar panels, but installations in China are less than three percent of projects implemented around the globe. Those installations are likely to increase.
- Water management is critical to China due to pollution.
- Electric vehicle penetration in China is likely to leapfrog deployments in the U.S. and Europe.
- U.S. companies can collaborate and profit from these cleantech opportunities in China.
Not-too-surprisingly the money is flowing into China's hot spots: Solar, transportation and smart grids.
What remains to be seen is how the U.S.-China cleantech race plays out. China can stimulate and dictate cleantech mandates much easier as a centrally-planned government. In the U.S., politics, not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) and legacy infrastructure are all hurdles to clear for cleantech deployments to accelerate.
Sep 20, 2010
M.Hamilton and Larry Dignan are right on the money here. China has the need and the ability to outpace the U.S. when it comes to developing alternative fuel sources. They also aren't stuck with the corporate monopolies (names withheld to protect the guilty) forcing the use of legacy energy sources for profit. I can see China outpacing the U.S. due to the vast capital they can throw at the problem. That's not to say they will reduce their carbon footprint anytime soon. They are far too dependent on their ever growing manufacturing base to be able to decrease their fossil fuel consumption at this point. It will be amusing to see the west actually stealing Chinese technology going into the future. Meanwhile the world keeps turning.
China needs massive upgrading of their power infrastructure, and I doubt they have any religious preference about where they get it. They are building large numbers of coal plants, and they're heavily into wind and solar as well simply because they need the energy. No doubt China will become number one in both renewable and non-renewable energy. With a population four times the size of the US they have to.
Well, China is buying 51% of the best battery in North America and you can only blame the government and business executives for not supporting Altairnano ( http://www.marketwatch.com/story/canon-investment-holdings-limited-plans-to-invest-489-million-in-altair-nanotechnologies-inc-2010-09-20?reflink=MW_news_stmp ) and other small companies. All research and development done by Altairnano for the military will be stopped as a requisite of Canon.
@m.hamilton, you hit the nail on the head re centralization. China can just dictate things. We can't. Sometimes that's an advantage. The other issue I see in the U.S. in the cleantech race is that we don't have the hunger to do it. China has the setup, the direct funding and the environmental trainwrecks that force a move to clean energy. it's a much larger conversation, but it would be foolish to dismiss China as a rival or a potential customer.
I think the U.S. should be very careful watching what's going on in China. Economies with a centralized and powerful government can really make things happen, regardless of whether big companies like it or not. I was born in Germany and when I bought my first American car (a 1979 Camaro) I found out that the catalyst had been removed when the car was imported - back in 1979 we did not even have unleaded gas in Germany! Nowadays it's almost impossible to get a permission in Germany to put a new American car on the road there because American emission standards are totally outdated (in Europe). Germany leads the market in solar technology and Germany has lots of solar panel installations. And what do we have here in Georgia? Nothing! We have the sunlight though! But Georgia Power prefers to burn coal and garbage ... using exhaust filter technology that dates back to the last century! Private companies NEVER drive technology forward, unless a government kicks them somewhere (like JFK did in the race to the moon).
Clean tech and dirty energy, philosophically divergent but compatible within an economic plan. Even necessary in a modern developing economy. Environmentally speaking they're using their credit card to leverage their way into a developed and ecologically sane economy.
Lol well as usual China say one thing and does another. And, as usual we have nothing to worry about.
How about all the new coal generating plants that we hear China is building? That doesn't sound like 'clean energy' to me.