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China secures the lead in renewable energy

BEIJING, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- China is now the leader in the global renewable energy market, a report by Ernst & Young says.

The report, released Tuesday, comes a day after U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, urging a push in American innovation in clean energy, warned that China's clean energy successes represent a new "Sputnik Moment" for the United States.

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"A new world is emerging in the clean energy sector with China now the clear leader in the global renewables market," the Ernst & Young report states.

Issued quarterly since 2003, the report assigns a numerical ranking to 30 global renewable energy markets by scoring renewable energy investment strategies and resource availability.

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The United States, which had top ranking on the index since November 2006 until China took the lead in September 2010, is now 5 points behind China, the authors said.

"Since reaching (the) top spot in our Index in September, China has opened up a healthy gap from other markets," Ben Warren, energy and environmental infrastructure advisory leader at Ernst & Young, said in a statement. "Cleantech, including renewable energy, represents a significant part of the country's future economic growth plans."

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China, which has also surpassed the United States as the world's biggest consumer of energy, spent a record $10 billion on its wind power industry in the last quarter, the report states. That represents nearly half of the global total of about $20.5 billion invested in new wind projects.

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The report says half of the wind turbines expected to come online this year around the world will have been manufactured in China.

"The level of wind energy being deployed in China shows what can be achieved with a carefully planned energy and industrial policy that elevates cleantech to a national strategic level," said Warren.

The report also said China's solar industry is fast becoming "of great importance" in the global marketplace.

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China is the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases. The International Energy Agency says China has $375 billion in investment plans over the next 10 years in wind, solar, nuclear and biomass projects.

Ernst & Young said South Korea, Romania, Egypt and Mexico are also rising fast as their governments allocate more resources to renewable energy.

Korea leads the new entrants to secure the 18th position in the index. Last month Seoul said the country would invest $36 billion in renewable energy by 2015 to boost its exports of clean energy sources and technology.

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