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The Global Energy Investment Leaderboard

For those of you keeping score at home, here's the current state of renewable energy investment around the globe. Overall, investment in renewable...

For those of you keeping score at home, here's the current state of renewable energy investment around the globe. Overall, investment in renewable energy took a dip during the financial crisis, but basically weathered the storm. Investment in renewable energy remains a phenomenon of the world's major economies though.


China leads the United States in both total investment and in the growth of investment by sizable margins.

This merits a little discussion. The media loves talking about the "clean energy race" between the United States and China (just google that phrase), but it's unclear to me that China's progress is a cause for concern. China may enjoy the advantages of cheap labor and a huge market, but we have a solid university system over here and the resources of Silicon Valley. It would be disappointing if every turbine factory ended up in China, but that's not going to happen as long as the United States is investing in renewable energy as well, and we are.The broader point, however, is that this isn't a zero-sum game. At the end of the day we want China to have a thriving sustainable energy industry and we want the United States to have one too (and Brazil and everyone else). It's possible that this race metaphor is really important as a source of nationalistic motivation, and makes sense to promote on purely utilitarian grounds, but it doesn't really make sense.For those who do cling to the race metaphor, however, here's some good news. The States still has a slight lead in installed renewable energy capacity. As always, remember that installed capacity isn't the same as generated renewable energy, which depends on how much the wind blows and the sun shines.

The charts come from a comprehensive new report by the Pew Environment Group.
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