Wind energy – We’re number … 3??

The report, "Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race," found that the U.S., with $34 billion in spending during the year on clean energy, trailed China ($54.4 billion) and Germany ($41.2 billion), after falling behind China in 2009.

In an interview with Reuters’s Timothy Gardner, former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, a Pew advisor, commented, "There had been a theory out there that China was rising so fast in clean energy because of its low labor costs. This is not about labor costs, this is about policy."

According to the report, both China and Germany have national minimum clean-energy targets (such as would be provided by a Renewable Electricity Standard), that have contributed to their progress.

The United States fell one spot to third place in clean-energy investment last year as the lack of a national energy policy hurt purchases in wind power and solar power and other technologies, a report said on Tuesday.

China came in first and Germany second, according to the report "Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race" by the Pew Charitable Trusts, an independent, nonprofit group. In the previous year the United States had fallen from the top spot to second place, behind China.

Germany has had a long history of using feed-in tariffs to spur solar power and other alternative energy. Last year the prospect of reductions in the tariffs, under which renewable-power generators are paid a premium price for the electricity they produce, helped spur dramatic growth in solar energy, especially in small-scale rooftop projects.

By Tom Gray,