RELEASE: CAP Report Maps Chinese Direct Investment in the U.S. Energy Economy

Washington, D.C. — A first-of-its-kind report released by the Center for American Progress today finds that Chinese companies are investing heavily in U.S.-based clean energy projects and that, by-and-large, these investments have the potential to create positive economic outcomes for states and localities across the nation.

The report, released today at an event hosted by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, compiles data from many sources to give an accurate snapshot of Chinese foreign direct investment, or FDI, in U.S. energy sectors. Many of these investment deals contribute to job creation and infrastructure expansion across the nation. Interestingly, the vast majority of these projects are a local government story: Governors, mayors, and enterprise leaders are bringing in Chinese partners to help meet specific energy investment needs in their states, counties, and cities.

However, the pattern of success varies widely from state to state. Many local governments and enterprises that would like to attract foreign direct investment—from China and other nations—do not know how to replicate the success they see happening in other states. That is an area where the federal government can and should do more to help. The U.S. Department of Energy and other federal agencies are already working closely with Chinese energy companies, academic researchers, and government officials on projects under the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue and other U.S.-China forums. Now is an ideal time to begin leveraging these existing programs to help local governments develop new projects here in the United States.

“State governors and municipal mayors across the country are doing everything they can to bring in Chinese energy investors, but the federal government is still punching below its weight,” said Melanie Hart, Director of China Policy at CAP and author of the report. “The Obama administration has a strong clean energy and climate change partnership with China and a deep bench of federal government expertise on Chinese energy markets and companies. It’s time to leverage that expertise to support the local communities looking for new investment sources. The potential impacts of investing in clean energy projects are too good to pass up.”

The report makes several recommendations for how the federal government can leverage current programs to better support state and city energy investment needs across America. Those recommendations include:

  • Establishing a clean energy investment initiative under the SelectUSA program to provide targeted investment attraction support for state and local government energy investment needs.
  • Providing evidence-based, sector-specific investment attraction recommendations to help local economic development offices make smart decisions about where and how to direct their limited resources.
  • Making Chinese direct investment projects in the U.S. energy economy a highlight of the U.S.-China diplomatic track on par with the bilateral projects going forward in the Chinese market.

Click here to read the report: “Current Patterns and Future Opportunities: Mapping Chinese Direct Investment in the U.S. Energy Economy” by Melanie Hart

Click here for an interactive map showing Chinese FDI in the United States: “Chinese Direct Investment in the U.S. Energy Economy” by Melanie Hart and  Angela Luh

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at  or 202.481.7141.