Testimony of Phyllis Cuttino Before the Subcommittee on Energy and Power and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade

Testimony of Phyllis Cuttino Before the Subcommittee on Energy and Power and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade

On June 20, 2013, Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew's Clean Energy Program, testified before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade regarding the clean energy transformation underway in the United States.

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Thank you Mr. Chairman, and members of the Committee for inviting me to join you today to talk about the remarkable energy transformation underway in the United States.   I would like to submit my full testimony for the record and will summarize it in the time that I have this morning.

You've heard a good deal from prior witnesses about some of the promising opportunities and trends associated with natural gas and development of conventional energy sources.  In my testimony, Mr. Chairman, I will provide the Committee with a window on how advanced, clean energy sources are complementing these developments and also represent a tremendous opportunity for our economic, environmental and national security interests as a nation.

Simply put, clean energy technologies have moved from the margins to the mainstream of global energy markets as a result of increased global demand, worldwide economic competition and the resulting dramatic decline in the price of solar, wind and other emerging technologies.

The emerging size and scope of the global clean energy sector has been chronicled by The Pew Charitable Trusts over the past four years in a series of reports entitled "Who's Winning the Clean Energy Race?" Our most recent report was issued in April of this year and the 2012 data show that clean energy is a significant, growing sector of the global economy.  While investment

levels declined 11 percent to $269 billion in 2012, deployment of clean generating capacity increased by more than 10 percent to a record 88 gigawatts of new generating capacity additions in 2012.

Our research shows that:

  • Clean energy investment is shifting from the West to the East.  Last year, Asia/Oceania became the leading regional destination for clean energy investment for the first time ever, attracting $101 billion in private investment – 42 percent of the global total.
  • Investment in technologies is also shifting. For the second year in a row, the solar sector attracted more financing than any other clean energy technology: $126 billion was invested in solar in 2012. China, Europe, and the United States were top markets for investment.
  • Prices for solar panels and wind turbines are declining as competition and deployment increases. In 2012, solar generating capacity grew by 4 percent to 31 gigawatts and wind added 48.6 gigawatts of capacity – record amounts for both categories.
  • Markets in developing countries are growing most rapidly.  In 2012, 20 percent of private investment went to non-G20 nations.  Previously, the G-20 nations accounted for 95 percent of investment.

And the evidence suggests that the positive momentum and market penetration of clean, renewable energy will continue.  Recently, the Bloomberg New Energy Finance research team estimated that clean energy investment is most likely to grow by 230 percent to a projected $630 billion annually in 2030.  This same study estimates that 70 percent of new power generating capacity added worldwide over the next 25 years will be renewable.

The rationale for the clean energy revolution is no different than the rationale for the ongoing natural gas revolution.  National governments, businesses and consumers are turning to clean energy to meet three basic interests: energy security, environmental security and economic opportunity.

Resource File: Download the complete testimony »