US clean energy economy needs comprehensive policies, warns report

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America’s competitive position in the global clean energy market is at risk because of increased competition abroad and uncertain policies at home, warns a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The study, Innovate, Manufacture, Compete: A Clean Energy Action Plan, said that revenue in the clean energy sector worldwide could total $1.9 trillion from 2012 to 2018. Yet round-table discussions with over 100 US 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.

The report makes a number of key policy recommendations that it believes will help strengthen America’s global competitiveness in the clean energy market. .

Among its recommendations are investments in energy research and development, extension of key manufacturing incentives and establishment of a national 'clean energy standard' that sets milestones for deployment of renewable and other clean sources in the electric power sector.

The Pew Charitable Trusts is an independent non-governmental organisation whose mission is to serve the public interest by “improving public policy, informing the public, and stimulating civic life”.

Commenting on the report, Phyllis Cuttino, Director of Pew’s clean energy programme, said: “Industry is telling us in no uncertain terms that the United States needs to adopt clear, consistent, long-term energy policies that allow American businesses to thrive, make our country more energy secure, and advance environmental imperatives.”

Cuttino added: “Our research shows that there is a multi-trillion-dollar opportunity in the clean energy sector. US industry has the capacity to be a leader, provided we have the right policies in place. It’s time for Congress to support a comprehensive energy strategy by delivering long-term certainty for businesses and investors in renewable power.”

Pew’s research projects that revenue associated with installation of wind, solar, and other renewable power is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 8 percent, rising from $200 billion in 2012 to $327 billion annually by 2018.

In the United States, clean energy installations are projected to reach 126 GW, which would more than double non-hydroelectric generating capacity.
 

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