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Which Country Will Win the Green Race?
       First there was the space race. Then the arms race. Now we’re in the first stages of the green race. Countries around the world are competing to determine who will be a supplier of green energy, and who will be a consumer of other countries’ renewable power.

       According to two business luminaries---Jeff Immelt of GE and John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins---the US is not at the front of the pack. There is only one US company among the top ten solar manufacturers, and only two among the top ten green battery manufacturers. We lag in the wind power equipment industry as well.

       Instead, China, India, and other Asian countries are setting the pace. Their governments are more committed to reducing dependence on traditional energy sources, and they are making larger investments in green technology. For instance, China’s spending on green energy as a percentage of GDP is ten times America’s. (Paradoxically, these same countries have some of the biggest domestic pollution problems---but that’s a topic for another newsletter.)

       We all know the race doesn’t go to the one who starts fastest, but the one who finishes first. It will be interesting to see if the US can quickly hit stride and fulfill President Obama’s goal of being, “The world’s leading exporter of renewable energy.”

We should think about...
  • What does it mean to our industry if we are dependent on Asia for renewable energy?
  • What can we do to encourage US companies to move forward more quickly with renewable energy production?
Sources: Christian Science Monitor 2009; Washington Post 2009; Yale Environment 360 2009
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