Cleantech Hubs Emerge Worldwide

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Will Silicon Valley be left in the dust of other nations in the clean energy race?

Washington, of course, says no, promising $2.5 billion for renewable-energy research and another $37 million for small businesses to develop cleantech.

Silicon Valley says that’s not enough.

Reuters: Google Green Energy Czar Bill Weihl said there was a “real danger” Silicon Valley and the United States in general would not lead the way in the space.

“Other countries, China being one of the major examples, are investing very heavily in this space across the whole innovation pipeline…from shower to power, from the idea in the shower to generating the power (in a) commercial scale enterprise,” Weihl said.

Certain elements of cleantech, such as semiconductors, may lend an advantage to Silicon Valley, but executives and venture capitalists expect various cleantech hubs to emerge across the map, each one specializing in a different component from LED light bulbs to smart grid technology to batteries.

Weihl wants $10 to $30 billion in federal investment per year. But it may be too late: cleantech hubs have already sprouted around the world as China, India, nations in the Middle East, all investing heavily in industry. Some emerging locations:

Denmark: the current epicentre of global wind power development, the Danish continue to own the windmill.

Jiangsu province, China: recently announced a solar subsidy to create 260 MW of solar capacity by 2011, sparking a solar market race that could almost single-handedly propel China past a national target of 300 MW by 2010.

Baoding, China: home to “Electricity Valley,” an industrial cluster that is the hub of solar, wind, and biomass energy equipment-makers in China. And it’s the world’s first “carbon positive” city. It makes so much clean energy equipment to supply the world that it’s good karma effectively outweighs its bad karma in emissions.

India: solar-farms to supply one-gigawatt of energy are planned over the next 10 years—enough to light up 750,000 homes in the United States.

North Africa: The Mediterranean Solar Plan is still an idea, but with this much sunlight, there is no reason why cities in North Africa shouldn’t generate plenty of green energy fo export to Europe.

Singapore: the tiny Asian nation has made big investments in clean energy, with $228 million going towards R&D in the next five years.

Abu Dhabi: home to the newly minted International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), a collective of 129 nations, which will advise nations of how best to go clean.

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