Current Patterns and Future Opportunities: Mapping Chinese Direct Investment in the U.S. Energy Economy

Center for American Progress / by Melanie Hart

The Obama administration has made clean energy cooperation a pillar of the U.S.-China diplomatic relationship for two reasons. First, China’s move toward a cleaner growth model furthers American national security interests on issues ranging from combatting global climate change to stability in the Middle East. Second, U.S.-China clean energy cooperation creates direct economic benefits for the United States because it helps create new demand markets in China for U.S. clean energy technology, services, and products…

In parallel with the roster of new U.S.-China projects moving forward to serve Chinese energy demand, a new trend of cooperation is also emerging in the U.S. energy market: Some Chinese companies are venturing across the Pacific to seek investment opportunities in the United States and build new energy projects here…

Consumers in the United States benefitted from access to low-cost goods from China, but some U.S. workers suffered from the loss of manufacturing jobs as factories relocated to China to take advantage of cheap labor costs. Now, Chinese labor costs are rising; export manufacturing is not as profitable as it once was; and Chinese firms are beginning to come to the United States, not for cheap labor—average U.S. wages are still much higher than those in China—but for access to other comparative advantages such as the highly skilled U.S. labor force and a growing U.S. consumer base for clean energy products. Chinese companies are now making direct investments in the U.S. energy economy that support American workers, build new clean energy infrastructure, and, in the case of clean energy projects, lower climate pollution. Many governors and city mayors across the United States view these projects as a boon for economic growth…


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