Environmental Initiatives

Media Inquiries

If you are a journalist and would like additional information, please visit the Media Contacts page.

Media Contacts

Subscribe to News Feeds

Pew offers news delivered to your desktop via RSS feed. Subscribing is easy. To learn more or get started, follow the link below.

Subscribe to News Feeds

For The Record

When Pew’s work is questioned or criticized we respond through letters to the editor or op-eds.

Read Pew's Responses

Clean Energy: U.S. Behind, but the Race is not Over

Clean Energy: U.S. Behind, but the Race is not Over

Related Experts

  • Phyllis Cuttino

    Phyllis Cuttino

    Director, Clean Energy

    Read bio


See all of our Experts


Phyllis Cuttino

Author(s) Description

Director, Pew Clean Energy Program

Phyllis Cuttino responds to Amy Harder's blog Is America Losing the Clean Energy Race? on NationalJournal.com.

Last spring, Pew broke the unfortunate news that the United States’ competitive position in the clean energy sector was at risk. Once the leader in attracting overall investments, we’re now third behind China and Germany—and lag behind various countries on a variety of other key measures. A major reason is that our clean energy policies are not as clear, consistent, or ambitious as those of other nations. Our research shows that where such policy exists, investment follows.

The United States has a number of clean energy strengths on which to rebuild our economic leadership. We remain the world’s leader in clean energy innovation and venture capital investments—the money that jumpstarts new technologies. U.S. companies make a number of the component parts in the renewable sector. In fact, U.S. solar firms achieved a positive $1.9 billion trade flow in 2010, and exports of wind power products have risen every year since 2007. At a time when few sectors of the economy are thriving, renewables are the fastest growing source of world energy, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

With the global clean energy market expected to reach $2.3 trillion by 2020, a strong competitive position is vital for the United States to capture a significant portion of that revenue. Emerging economies are eager for clean energy sector products. Without a change in national policy, the United States risks missing out on a major new economic opportunity.

Nothing would do more to strengthen the U.S. competitive position than policy that encourages American businesses to invest domestically in renewable energy. To begin, establishment of a national clean energy production goal would signal to investors and business leaders that there will be sustained demand. It would also spur the development of a robust supply chain, helping lower prices at home and making our products and manufacturers more globally competitive.

We also need to create long-term and fair financial incentives for clean energy. At the moment, the United States has only a series of short-term tax credits for the production of wind turbines and solar panels. For example, the production tax-credit is nearing expiration, and uncertainty surrounding its renewal leaves the domestic clean energy community in a state of flux—leaving capital on the sidelines and forestalling job creation.

Finally, we need to encourage public and private investment in clean energy research and development (R&D) in order to maintain our innovation edge. A sustained commitment to R&D will enhance our competitive position in batteries and energy storage and position us to take advantage of next-generation technologies, as well.

The United States has a number of assets with which to compete in the global clean energy economy. Strong national policy will help us leverage these advantages and capitalize on this enormous economic opportunity.


Related News and Resources

  • U.S. Marines Take Lead in Deploying Clean Energy

    • Other Resource
    • Apr 21, 2014
    The Department of Defense is a leader in deploying clean energy and has a goal to install 3 gigawatts of renewable power by 2025—enough to power 750,000 homes. As we celebrate Earth Day, April 22, there are hundreds of success stories of how our environment has improved since 1970.


  • The Turning Point for Clean Energy

    • Other Resource
    • Apr 17, 2014
    After two years of declining investment in clean energy, the mood might have been somber at Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s annual summit in New York, April 7-9. But the keynote addresses and panel discussions were filled with optimism.


  • China.org.cn: China Remains Leading Destination for Clean Energy Investment

    • Media Coverage
    • Apr 04, 2014
    China remains the leading destination for clean energy investment in 2013 as global investment kept declining in 2013, according to a report released on Thursday.


  • Bloomberg: Clean-Energy Investment Rises in 3 Countries Amid Global Decline

    • Media Coverage
    • Apr 03, 2014
    Three G-20 nations saw an increase in clean-energy investments last year even as funding declined globally for the second consecutive year, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts.


  • Pew Report Finds That Global Clean Energy Investment Declined in 2013

    • Press Release
    • Apr 02, 2014
    Global clean energy investment fell 11 percent to $254 billion, and renewable power generating capacity additions declined by 1 percent in 2013, according to research released today by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The report, Who's Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2013 Edition, finds that among the world's top industrialized economies, known as the Group of 20, or G-20, China remains the leading destination for investors.


  • Who's Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2013

    • Report
    • Apr 01, 2014
    For the past five years, Pew has tracked investment and finance trends in the world’s leading economies. Over that period, the clean energy industry has been buffeted by a global recession, broad changes in energy markets, and uncertainty surrounding international policies on clean energy and climate change. Despite these challenges, the clean energy sector is now an annual $250 billion component of the world economy.


  • Liquid Inspiration: ARPA-E Grantee Attracts Private Investment

    • Video
    • Mar 31, 2014
    Founded on the MIT campus, Ambri is developing a liquid battery to commercialize a viable electricity storage product. David Bradwell, chief technology officer and co-founder, and Phil Giudice, CEO, discuss how this innovation could revolutionize energy distribution and the importance of federal and private investment.


  • Pew Webinar: Who's Winning the Clean Energy Race?

    • Event
    • Mar 27, 2014
    On Thursday, April 3, at 11 a.m. EDT, The Pew Charitable Trusts will release its report Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2013 Edition.


Sign In

Member Sign In

Forgot Password?
Submit Not a Member? Join!

Forgot Password?

Send Password Not a Member? Join!

Change Password

(All Fields are required)
Send Message
Share this on: