"The Cleantech revolution has gained momentum at a staggering pace during the past year. The potential scale and political urgency of emerging cleantech industries is beginning to bear a semblance to the Space Race of the 1960's," said Tim Carey, U.S. cleantech leader at PwC. "The U.S. and China have stepped to the forefront, as both countries recognize that aggressive backing of the cleantech sector can help achieve long-term goals of environmental protection, resource conservation and economic growth."
In Q2 2010, U.S. venture capital investments in cleantech totaled more than $1.2 billion, according to the MoneyTree Report, a quarterly survey that tracks cash-for-equity investments by the professional venture capital community in private emerging companies in the United States.
The emergence of the U.S. coupled with China's growing presence in this sector has positioned the two countries as the frontrunners for the cleantech revolution.
PwC's new report on cleantech discusses how the U.S. and China have rapidly ascended as leaders in a global race toward cleantech dominance, while taking a deeper dive into key cleantech sector "sweet spots" that present strong opportunities for growth, including mega-renewables, clean water and air, transportation and smart grid.
Key findings from the report include:
China's extensive plan for mega-renewable energy generation build-outs presents opportunities for U.S. collaboration
Generous incentives for clean technology investment on national, regional and local levels drove China to become one of the world's biggest markets for new wind turbines in 2009.
China is a major producer of solar energy generation products, producing one-third of the world's photovoltaic panels in 2009, yet installations in China account for less than 3 percent of global installations. China's percentage of global installations is set to increase and U.S. companies are well positioned to help support China's ambitious mega-renewable build-outs.
2. Clean water, Clean air:
Leveraging cleantech to address water and air pollution in China is a matter of national urgency China's problems with polluted air and water have placed water management technology high on its priority list.
Only 50 percent of China's coal plants have emissions control equipment. Sixty percent of China's new coal plants use new clean technology, with emissions regulations that are often not heavily enforced, according to the report.
3. Electric vehicles:
China's alternative fuel vehicle penetration rate is on the verge of leapfrogging the U.S. and European Union Production of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) will reach an estimated 400,000 units annually in China by 2016.
China automakers are forecasted to expand global share of electric vehicles from less than 3 percent in 2010 to 35 percent in 2020.
U.S. and other foreign firms are poised to contribute needed technology and expertise if and when clean vehicles in China gain the level of traction automakers and legislators are hoping for.
"With the sudden increase of U.S. and China cleantech investments, the opportunity exists for U.S. companies to begin nurturing partnerships with both large and small fast-growing companies within China," added Carey. "Partnerships built on mutual cooperation, trust and a clear understanding of each country's business conditions and needs will pave the way for long-term relationships and significant economic growth."