Amid uncertainty about the future of green energy in the US under a Trump Administration, China is on the verge of cementing its place as the world leader in green energy investment and development.
In 2015, China invested 103 billion dollars in domestic renewal energy, a seventeen percent growth from 2014 and two and a half times more than the United States investment in the same sector for that year. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), between 2015 and 2021, China will install 36% of all hydro electricity generation capacity, 40% of all wind energy, and 36% of all solar energy worldwide.
Although employment in renewable energy fell overall in China in 2016, China still accounts for 3.5 million out of the 8.1 million renewable energy jobs worldwide. In comparison, there were less than one million renewable energy jobs in the United States in 2016.
Just looking at the numbers, China dominates the global solar industry. Five out of the six largest solar-module manufacturing companies are located in China, and the average cost of solar panels in China fell by 30% in 2016. In 2015, China overtook the United States in the electric car market with 200,000 new registrations that year.
The United States needs to keep up with China’s investment in and development of renewable energy. While the US and China are allies who cooperate and collaborate, the renewable energy market is growing increasingly competitive. The United States cannot afford to turn back to coal and lose out on the opportunity to innovate, create good jobs, and ensure a safe and sustainable future.