The global clean energy marketplace is expanding rapidly, but the competitive position of the U.S. industry is at risk because of increased competition abroad and uncertain policies at home, according to a new report by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
The study found that revenue in the clean energy sector worldwide could total $1.9 trillion from 2012 to 2018. Yet roundtable discussions with more than 100 U.S. industry leaders reveal that the country is at a crossroads: Private investment, manufacturing and deployment of renewable power have been constrained because of the lack of a long-term, consistent energy policy.
Clean energy markets are large and growing, offering the U.S. an important opportunity for innovation, investment, job creation and manufacturing. Pew's research projects that revenue associated with installation of solar, wind and other renewable power is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 8%, rising from $200 billion in 2012 to $327 billion annually by 2018.
In the U.S., clean energy installations are projected to reach 126 GW, which would more than double non-hydroelectric generating capacity. However, the U.S. position in the industry is constrained by numerous challenges, including tight credit markets, growing international competition and an uneven playing field with fossil energy sources.
According to the report, pragmatic federal clean energy policies would help enhance the competitive position of the U.S. renewable power industry. Throughout the past year, Pew has conducted research and consulted business leaders and industry experts across the country to evaluate strategies for strengthening the sector and improving America's position in the global clean energy race.
Based on this input and empirical research, the report recommends that the U.S. take the following actions: establish a clean energy standard to guide deployment and investment for the long term, significantly increase investment in energy research and development, enact a multiyear but time-limited extension of tax credits for clean energy sources, level the playing field across the energy sector by evaluating barriers to competition, renew incentives for domestic clean energy manufacturing, and create a strategy to expand markets for clean energy goods and services abroad.
The full report is available here.