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New "Clean Economy, Living Planet" Report Ranks Countries, Offers Advice for Winning the Clean Energy Race

2 min. read

Yesterday, at Windpower 2012, a new report on the clean energy economy ("Clean Economy, Living Planet - The Race to the Top of Global Clean Energy Technology Manufacturing, 2012") was released.   The report, prepared by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, ranks cleantech sales per country for "the 27 EU member states, the G7 countries, the BRIC countries, and South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Mexico, Indonesia and Australia."

According to the report's methodology section, renewable energy is defined as including "technologies for generating heat, electricity or transportation fuels," excluding hydropower. In addition, the report includes "technologies that are dedicated only to increasing efficiency or replacing less efficient technologies," as well as "manufacturing inputs such as silicon and specialized machinery, intermediate products such as solar cells, and final products such as wind turbines, heat pumps and biofuels."

A few of the key findings include:

  • With an "aggressive rollout of the most energy-efficient technologies and fast growth of renewable energy supplies...energy demand can be stabilized and the overall energy system can be 95% sustainably sourced by 2050."
  • "Temperature increases due to global warming can be limited to 2°C if clean energy technologies (cleantech) are deployed rapidly and worldwide."
  • "The cleantech market is becoming more mature, with growth rates slowing from 30% to a more sustainable level, at 10% per year." Despite this slowdown, "[t]he cleantech sector’s growth still significantly exceeds that of the global economy, at 2.7%, and the fastest growing economies, like China, India, Russia and Brazil."
  • "Wind and solar together make up 50% of cleantech sales" in the countries the report examined.
  • "In the coming years, the cleantech sector will remain an attractive market, rivaling the oil and gas equipment market by 2015."
  • "China is the global cleantech leader, with its large and growing manufacturing base. The United States and the European Union have considerable potential that is yet to be realized," although the United States does rank second in "absolute global clean energy technology sales."
  • In the report's "relative ranking" (weighted by GDP), "Denmark remains the global cleantech leader;" "China still holds second place in the relative ranking and is closing in on Denmark;" followed by Germany, Brazil, and South Korea. The United States ranks #15 in the relative rankings.
  • "Stable long-term government policy provides the right conditions for the cleantech sector to flourish...The successful adoption of these products critically depends on the enabling conditions created by government, financial institutions and R&D institutes."
  • "The biggest challenge in the United States is the development of sufficient, stable government policies that will foster the cleantech industry."

The bottom line of the report is that cleantech offers tremendous opportunities to the countries that seize them, allowing them to tap into the "enormous growth expected" in this sector for many decades to come. An added bonus for countries which heed this report's recommendations is that "cleantech improves the competitive position of a country at a time when the secure supply of fossil fuels is becoming increasingly scarce." In sum, cleantech development helps countries to prosper economically, to enhance their energy security, and to fuel their countries in an environmentally sustainable manner for the foreseeable future. That sure sounds like a "win-win-win" situation to us.