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Will Biden’s Big Clean Energy Bet Help The U.S. Catch China?

·2 min read

The US seems well on its path to green energy. President Joe Biden recently signing into law the biggest clean energy investment in US history. The package includes $370 billion in subsidies for solar and wind energy development, electric vehicles, etc.

Taking a cue, the United States Steel Corporation (U.S. Steel) and Shell US Gas & Power LLC signed an agreement. This deal will set up a clean energy hub centralized in the the Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

This new hub will explore decarbonization opportunities that feature carbon capture utilization and storage. Hydrogen production and utilization are also on the agenda for the new hub, according to a press statement.

The hub and its associated infrastructure, should generate new jobs, stimulate economic growth, and help achieve significant reductions in carbon emissions, if successful.

Green Energy Race Between the US and China

The news seems to have been welcomed by US producers. According to Grete Tveit, SVP Equinor Low Carbon Solutions, the new, low carbon hub in this region could have a “profound impact” on both the climate and the economy. The company has been investing in the Pennsylvania region for the last 14 years and has significant equity gas production in the Appalachia region.

This development is just one more step in the US’ stipulated plan of aiming for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Equinor and Shell plan on jointly applying for US Department of Energy funding designated for the creation of regional clean energy hubs.

But compared to China, the US lags in clean energy development, and continues to play catch-up. Though admittedly, China remains a significant fossil fuel user – (2x what the US uses). Last year, China invested about US $380 billion in clean energy, while North America invested $235 billion.

US Clean Energy Benefits on The Horizon

The Chinese government, according to this report, set targets for wind and solar capacity. It extended credit lines to the private companies in this sector and allowed subsidies to help clean energy sources compete with cheaper coal-generated power before the US ever had a blueprint.

However, when the two clean energy plans are compared today, the US is catching up with China. The US will soon start reaping the benefits of its clean energy plan, just like China. In 2021, for example, China accounted for nearly half of new global renewable energy capacity.

In comparison, the US’ efforts on this front look modest. American solar and wind tax credits pushed growth in solar and wind energy sectors. Overall, financial and regulatory support for renewable electricity generation appears higher in China.

However, China’s renewable electricity share leapt from 16% in 2005 to 28% in 2021. These numbers are much higher than existing levels in the US.

By AG Metal Miner

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