WASHINGTON, May 9 (IPS) – With U.S. federal funding sources for renewable energy sources already drying up, coupled with a newfound antipathy towards “green” issues issue here in Washington, some are suggesting that China could offer an important opportunity for the future of renewables in the United States and around the world.”I would be very bullish for American companies to explore green-technologies-related opportunities in China,” Craig Allen, deputy assistant secretary for Asia within the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, said on Wednesday. “That would be a tremendous area for cooperation.”

While the U.S. and China have been vying for the top spot in spending on green technologies in recent years, China looks set to make massive gains – or at least spend massive amounts of money – in the near future.

The Chinese surpassed the U.S. in wind turbine deployment in 2009. By 2020, the country is supposed to have more solar energy-related infrastructure than the rest of the world combined.

As part of its latest five-year development plan, Beijing has also defined a list of seven strategic emerging industries to receive “special treatment” adding up to some 1.7 billion dollars in government investment. According to Allen, six of those seven areas deal with energy issues.

Allen’s presentation came a day after a high-level British government official made a similar announcement, urging the British private sector to use China as an “incubator” for the development of new green technologies.

“There are big opportunities to partner with Chinese companies and pioneer new technologies in the Chinese market,” John Ashton, the U.K. government’s special representative on climate change, said on his return from an official trip to China. “That will cost you less and get your prices down … faster than it would elsewhere.”

U.S. companies are facing a similar spectrum of concerns. While the United States continues to lead globally in terms of coming up with new innovations in renewable energy, the issue of how to proceed beyond that phase has become increasingly problematic.

According to a study released in late April by the Brookings Institution, state-backed support for the U.S. clean energy sector is set to drop by 75 percent, from 44.3 billion dollars in 2009 to just 11 billion dollars.

While much of this defunding is coming from government programmes that are scheduled to sunset in coming months, in the lead-up to the 2012 U.S. presidential elections green tech has become highly politicised.

Source: AlertNet – http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/china-key-to-green-tech-innovation

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