Study Finds US Can Gain Durable Competitive Advantage by Investing in Clean Energy

September 19, 2022 by Dan McCue
Study Finds US Can Gain Durable Competitive Advantage by Investing in Clean Energy
(World Nuclear Association photo)

WASHINGTON — Strategic investments in six key “clean” technologies could yield “massive and lasting benefit” for the U.S. economy by mid-century, a new report says.

The study, commissioned by Third Way, a D.C.-based think tank, and Breakthrough Energy, and researched by the Boston Consulting Group, focuses on advanced nuclear, clean steel, direct air capture, electric vehicles, low carbon hydrogen and long-duration energy storage.

It estimates that with the benefit of strategic investments these segments of a future green economy can have a market value of $2 trillion a year by 2050, equal to roughly 10% of current U.S. gross domestic product.

According to its sponsors, the study “quantifies the economic infusion that would come from betting big on America’s potential” to leverage sectors where the U.S. has or can create a competitive edge. 


Just as important, they say it identifies specific places in these six clean technology value chains where we should invest, so the private sector has the best chance of competing and winning for everyone.

The initial study focuses on these six sectors for their carbon abatement potential, the economic and jobs impact, and the opportunity for a strong domestic advantage. 


It suggests building on the sectors, all of which have deep roots across the U.S., could help insulate the domestic companies against future supply disruptions.

At the same time, a joint push by the White House and Congress to incentivize companies to make critical net-zero technologies in the U.S. would create “strong economic anchors” to revitalize communities and create good-paying jobs, the report states.

The six technologies would also generate $340 billion in exports annually, $100 billion more than the value of America’s current fossil fuel-related exports, the study says.

Building on the premise that the U.S. is poised to become the dominant player in electric vehicles with a unique opportunity to lead in raw materials, battery and powertrain manufacturing, original equipment manufacturing, and software development and after-sales services, the researchers suggest:

  • Strategic policy support could increase the U.S. market share from 10% to 55%.
  • Building on private sector leadership, the total domestic market is estimated to reach $7-8 trillion in sales through 2050.
  • The priority segments in the EV value chain could create jobs for millions of Americans — more than any other technology evaluated in the study, and
  • The industries that helped build America are at the forefront of the new clean energy industrial revolution. 

“These findings show how the U.S. can win big by leveraging public and private sector investment to secure a competitive advantage in clean technologies, supercharge our economy, create millions of new jobs, and strengthen, stabilize, and secure our energy supply chains,” the report states. 


“Stimulating demand for clean energy technologies and carbon-free products will not only cut costs and emissions, but also scale up domestic industries that will allow America to export mature, clean energy technology at scale, bringing new economic engines to strengthen U.S. communities.”

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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