China Makes U.S. Green Tech Companies an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Invest in China now. China’s economic rise already has the United States shaking in our boots, and they’re about to deliver their K-O punch by emerging as the global leader in green technology.

In 2009, China invested $34.6 billion in clean technology and is becoming the world's leading investor in renewable energy technologies. China produces more wind turbines and solar panels each year than any other country. Now, they’re offering something most countries can’t: private and government grants, low-interest loans, and financial and tax incentives to lure green tech companies to open shop in the country. Many companies have already crossed the ocean to take advantage of the opportunity.

According to MIT’s Technology Review, Boston Power, a Massachusetts-based lithium-ion battery maker, is one of those companies. The Chinese government has awarded the company a package deal that includes $125 million in funds, loans, incentives and construction assistance for a new plant in Shanghai. This deal gives Boston Power a real chance to compete in the electric car battery market.

“We have a seat at the table as China is thinking about global policies,” Boston Power founder and international chairman Dr. Christina Lampe-Onnerud told WBZ NewsRadio.

This also means the United States will lose hundreds of jobs to China—something we can’t afford to do right now.

Applied Materials, a supplier of solar panel equipment based in California, has also moved to China to open a new research lab. The company secured a 75-year land lease from the Chinese government at a huge discount and will pay a quarter of the lab’s operating costs for five years.

Investors are also expanding to China. Private equity firm Hudson Clean Energy Partners is in the process of opening an office in Beijing.

“China is rapidly becoming one of the world’s foremost leaders in clean energy innovation and manufacturing, which is creating significant investment opportunity," said Neil Auerbach, co-managing partner of Hudson.

Unless the United States can cut through the red tape—which is virtually impossible in Washington, D.C., we’re going to lose—more like forfeit— the clean tech race.

Posted by Sherleen H. Mahoney on Oct 03, 2011