Just like the automobile industry, the US is falling behind Asia in the area of green technology. Japan is about 10 years ahead of the US in solar technology. That country offers residential solar technology on a large scale. China has been putting in tons of money in development of wind technology.
According to a report from the Breakthrough Institute and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, as reported in the Financial Times, the US attracted about $56 billion in private capital for renewable energy technology between 2000 and 2008. China ended this same period with $41 billion in private capital invested. However, the report states that over the next 5 years, Japan, China and South Korea would between them invest a total of $509 billion in clean technology. In contrast, the US will invest about $172 billion over that same period.
This report states further that China is poised to repeat the same success in green technology that South Korea and Japan had established in electronics and automobiles. It looks like these "Green Tigers" will be the leaders in the gren technology industry with the US trying to play catch up once again. This will be a missed opportunity for the US the shift its economy from an unbalanced service oriented economy back to a balanced service and manufacturing economy. This economic transformation will benefit the US both in economic growth and security.
Unfortunately, we may be too late. China is already the leader in exporting solar power components and has one of the biggest wind turbine manufacturing industries. This year China will export the first wind turbine destined for use in a US wind farm valued at $1.5 billion. With a 10% unemployment rate, this is unacceptable that we would not be providing these wind turbines by our own companies to US wind farms.
According to the report, the US relies on foreign-owned companies to manufacture most wind turbines and produces less than 10% of the world's solar cells. In addition, we have already fell behind the other foreign automobile companies in hybrid and electric car technology.
The US needs to take the lead in this. There should be no debate on this by Congress because it benefits all Americans: conservatives, liberals, independents, farmers, city dwellers, the wealthy and the poor. Let's get to work become the leader in the Eco-economy.