Writer Ashyia Hill writes this work on the top 10 countries that take the lead in renewable energy innovation.
With fossil fuel stockpiles running out, the world is in a race against the clock to come up with clean, renewable uses of technology that will meet our needs without hurting the next generation’s ability to meet their needs. But, which countries are leading the way in renewable energy innovations?
The U.S. Army has explored plenty of renewable energy innovations.
One way to answer this question is by looking at which nations took out the most clean energy-related patents. Economists Antoine Dechezleprêtre and Matthieu Glachant analyzed patent awards by the European Union’s World Patent Statistical Database to see which nations produced the most clean technology inventions between 2000 and 2005.
The Dechezleprêtre and Glachant study found that Japan was responsible for 37.1 percent of innovations related to clean energy between 2000 and 2005. This matches up well with a 2002 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which found Japan’s environmental policies were strict, effective, well-enforced, and properly monitored.
2. United States
The U.S. is the global leader in carbon capture and storage, a method of grabbing CO2 from point sources and storing it so it can’t get into the atmosphere. The United States holds almost 70 percent of CCS patents across the world, according to British non-profit institute Chatham House.
Dechezleprêtre and Glachant found the U.S. came up with 11.8 percent of the world’s green inventions between 2000 and 2005.
In terms of green technology, Germany is best known for its solar panels, although it also uses many other types of renewable energy. The German Ministry for the Environment and Reactor Safety says that over 100 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity was provided by renewable energy in 2010.
As per Dechezleprêtre and Glachant’s analysis, Germany was responsible for 10 percent of the world’s eco-friendly patents during the studied period.
China’s growing population is contributing to a bigger demand for energy, and political leaders are investing more into renewable energy for the country. As per the Center for American Progress, China invested $33.7 billion into renewable energy in 2009.
In the Dechezleprêtre and Glachant assessment, China was the source of 8.1 percent of global green innovations.
5. South Korea
South Korea has made renewable energy investing a priority. The South Korean government placed more than 80% of its $38 billion stimulus package into green investments in 2009, according to Forbes magazine.
This small country came up 6.4 percent of the planet’s renewable energy inventions, as per Dechezleprêtre and Glachant.
Like China, Russia has not traditionally been known for focusing on environmentalism, but this is starting to change. Russia’s emphasis on technology and science in education gives this country the potential to become a leader in eco-friendly technology.
In the previously mentioned study, Russia was responsible for 2.8 percent of global renewable energy innovations.
Australia’s status as an island gives it special opportunities and challenges when it comes to environmental decisions. The nation’s prime minister, Julia Gillard, recently unveiled a plan to tax its biggest emitters of carbon dioxide by July of 2012, which would make it the first country to place a price tag on carbon.
Dechezleprêtre and Glachant found that 2.5 percent of green technology-related patents came from Australia.
As in many European countries, the environment has long been a hot topic in France, and green products are becoming more popular among consumers.
In terms of green inventions, France tied with Australia in the above study.
9. United Kingdom
The U.K. may not produce many renewable energy innovations, but it’s good at importing other countries’ inventions, especially when it comes to wind and water power, according to a Forbes magazine report.
The United Kingdom produced 2 percent of renewable energy innovations covered in the Dechezleprêtre and Glachant study.
Canada isn’t a yet a big player in renewable energy, although a lot of its electricity comes from hydroelectric dams. However, with the use of wind power expanding, Canada has opportunities to pioneer new uses of green technology.
Canada was responsible for 1.7 percent of global green innovations in the patent analysis study.
Although eco-friendly patents and innovations don’t tell the whole story when it comes to a country’s environmental policies, the fact that these countries are investing in renewable energy means they are looking to the future—and that is a big part of the green mindset.
Hill adds: “I was searching for a more modern version of the Dechezleprêtre and Glachant patent study, but I couldn’t find anything on a global scale. Although their study uses information from 2005, it wasn’t published until 2009.”
Ashyia Hill is a business blogger and social media advocate with CreditDonkey, where she helps entrepreneurs evaluate small business credit cards.