As if we needed more evidence that China has become the global leader in clean energy, the case was emphatically made on February 21, 2017, when the Clean200 list was released, revealing that 71 of the world’s largest 200 publicly-listed green energy and technology firms are China-based, as reported on chinadialogue.
The firms on the list come from a variety of sectors, such as biofuels and battery storage, and China’s figure of 71 is almost twice as much as that of the runner-up, the U.S., with 41 companies, and more than three times that of Japan, which ranks third with 20 companies. Further, in 2016, China invested nearly twice as much as the U.S. did in clean energy, and nearly 10 times as much as Germany, according to data released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
What’s driving Chinese dominance of clean technology in terms of profits includes wind and solar companies, but the growth areas are biofuels and battery storage, due to a surge in consumer demand for electric vehicles and a shift to smart grids. The overarching trend uncovered by the Clean200 report is the accelerated expansion of the low carbon economy, which is being driven by the falling cost of renewable energy.
Further trends reveal that solar power has the possibility of supplying as much as 29 percent of global power by the year 2040, according to research conducted by the Grantham Institute and Carbon Tracker. Additionally, electric vehicles could account for about 35 percent of the road transport market by the year 2035, with coal and oil demand peaking in 2020, according to the aforementioned research.
But even if we don’t hit the figures listed above, the lesson to be learned here by other countries is that strong support for renewable energy by the Chinese government has contributed in great part to the success that clean tech companies are experiencing currently in China. Specifically, China invested US$89.5 billion in 2014 into renewable energy companies, up 32 percent from 2013. It is telling to note that this figure was nearly 73 percent more than the U.S., the next largest investor.