The value of the low-carbon energy market will almost triple by 2020, even if the US does not introduce a comprehensive cap-and-trade programme, an HSBC report says.
The report – which outlines various pathways for clean energy generation and energy efficiency measures over the coming decade – says the annual value of the low-carbon energy sector will leap from $740 billion in 2009 to between $1.5 trillion to $2.7 trillion in 2020, with $2.2 trillion the most likely figure.
Under the report’s most likely scenario, the US low-carbon energy market will grow by 10% compounded annually over the next decade, to a value of $451 billion by 2020. The growth is due to improved building and industrial efficiency, increased renewable energy generation and innovations such as electrical vehicles, and does not depend on having a comprehensive cap-and-trade programme in place.
“In this scenario, we are not expecting an economy-wide cap-and-trade system to be introduced this decade; a utility-only cap is more plausible,” the report said, although HSBC does expect federal clean energy incentives to be introduced, along the lines of the Lugar bill which aims to expand nuclear and renewables energy and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Globally, China will overtake the US in terms of low-carbon energy market share, with the Asian nation increasing its current 17% share to 24% by 2020. The US share will dip slightly from 21% in 2010 to 20% in 2020 while the EU will remain the market leader, albeit with a reduced share from 33% today to 27% in 2020.
The report defines the low-carbon energy sector as that of the renewable and nuclear energy sectors, carbon capture and storage, and energy efficiency measures across the building, industrial and transport sectors.
By. Charlotte Dudley
Source: Environmental Finance