It may come as no surprise that China leads the world in commercial cleantech investment, but it has not just inched past the U.S. or Europe; today, China has a commanding lead.
Commercial cleantech investment had more than quadrupled from $30 billion in 2007 to nearly $160 billion in 2012, according to a recent report from the National Science Foundation on science and engineering indicators.
More than a third of the 2012 investment ($60 billion) is in China, with the U.S. and Europe behind with about $27 billion and $29 billion, respectively. Most of the funding globally went to wind and solar.
“The uninterrupted growth of clean energy investments in China reflects the government’s policies targeted at wind and solar energy to make China a major world producer in these technologies and to reduce China’s reliance on fossil fuels,” the NSF wrote.
The remainder of the investment comes from other emerging economies, such as Brazil, India, Mexico and Indonesia.
One area where the U.S. continues to lead is in clean energy patents; the country holds about half of the approximately 8,800 patents. The U.S. also still commands about 80 percent of venture capital investment, with energy smart and energy efficiency technologies leading the pack in 2012.
The figures from NSF come in the wake of Bloomberg New Energy Finance's recent finding that China surpassed the U.S. for the first time in smart grid spending in 2013.