Witnesses testifying before the Senate Energy Committee said a comprehensive government-private sector partnership is needed if the U.S. is going to have a competitive clean energy sector. The hearing, which looked at clean energy in China and the U.S. comes after the Chairman of the Committee, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, returned from a trip to China.
According to a new World Wildlife Fund report, the U.S. lags behind China in the "clean energy technology race." The study, which looks at the manufacture and sales of solar panels and wind turbines in 25 countries, found the U.S. in fourth place for wind technology behind China, Germany and Denmark.
The U.S. recently placed tariffs on Chinese-made wind turbines and solar panels, claiming that "illegal" government subsidies and dumping by Chinese manufacturers are hurting American "Green" manufacturers. Critics of the administration's move claim that the 31% tariff on Chinese solar panels will hurt U.S. consumers and slow down the residential solar market.
Alternative energy development in the U.S. also faces challenges as tax credits designed to promote "green energy" will likely expire this year. Vestas, a Danish wind turbine manufacturer, warned that the U.S. turbine market may fall by 80% in 2013 if the production tax credit expires.