REFILE-U.S. seen losing renewable energy race to Asia

Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:02pm GMT

(Refiles to fix typo in headline)

* U.S. challenged by India, South Korea, Malaysia

* Industry urges govt on renewable electricity mandates

WASHINGTON, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Several Asian countries in addition to China could soon challenge the United States in the race to build a renewable energy industry if Washington doesn't provide more incentives for its domestic business, venture capitalists and others told a Congressional hearing on Wednesday.

The United States, once the world's leader in energy innovation, is now also "challenged and threatened" by India, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines, because it is not providing enough incentives to fund development of alternative energy and to increase demand, Ravi Viswanathan, a partner at New Enterprise Associates told a hearing chaired by U.S. Representative Ed Markey.

"These nations have outpaced the U.S. in recruiting, incenting and developing domestic manufacturing of solar, wind, and battery technology," he said.

China already has more than half of the world's market for solar panels and its companies are looking to export wind turbines.

The Senate failed to pass a climate bill this year that would put a price on carbon emissions, so it must pass laws that would create demand for alternative energy or fall further behind, experts told the panel.

Senator Jeff Bingaman introduced a bill this week that would require utilities to generate minimum amounts of alternative energy through a federal Renewable Electricity Standard, or RES, but the legislation faces an uncertain future.   Continued...

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