Chinese firms dominate top 200 clean energy moneymakers

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Shutterstockclaudio zaccherini
Shanghai at night. Chinese firms dominate a new list of public companies generating the most revenue from green energy.

German tech giant Siemens has topped the latest Clean 200 list of publicly traded corporations which make significant revenue from green energy, while Chinese companies continue to dominate the rankings.

Revealed on Monday, the Clean 200 list ranks firms according to green revenues, and features major, established clean tech names such as France's Schneider Electric SE, US EV company Tesla, Spanish energy firm Gamesa and Danish firms Vestas Wind Systems and DONG Energy within the top 20.

Other major corporations such as Panasonic, Philips Lighting, Bombardier Inc. and Emerson Electric also feature highly in the list, which was last year topped by Japanese car company Toyota — now in second place — in the inaugural Clean 200. 

However, while the highest-ranked Chinese firm in the list, Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co Ltd, sits only at No. 15, as many as 71 companies from China are in the latest quarterly rankings. That's almost double the 41 companies featured from the USA.

Meanwhile, only two U.K. companies again feature in the latest rankings: energy utility firm SSE Plc at No. 9 and Dialogue Semiconductor at 161.

Compiled by non-profit organisation As You Sow and market research firm Corporate Knights, the list ranks the largest publicly quoted companies worldwide by their total clean energy revenues, as rated by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

To qualify, companies must have a market value of at least $1 billion and generate 10 percent of their revenues from clean sources.

Overall, according to Corporate Knights, since the first Clean 200 rankings in August, companies in today's list only slightly underperformed those in the S&P Global 1200 indices by 1.3 percent, despite a "tumultuous" period for global stock markets that included President Donald Trump's surprise U.S. election win in November.

Commenting on today's rankings, Corporate Knights' CEO Toby Heaps said the domination of Chinese companies in the Clean 200 was particularly impressive given that China's stock market is less than half the size of the USA's.

A number of recent analyses have suggested China could be set to take the lead in the global green economy with the country announcing billions of dollars of investment into renewables and clean technology worldwide in recent months.

Meanwhile, Trump, known to harbor a distaste for wind farms, has indicated he favors greater support for the U.S. fossil fuel industry.

"The clean energy 'space-race' is on and China is in pole position," said Heaps. "Whether or not the U.S. can climb out of second place will depend in no small measure on the new administration's ability to make America green again."

Updated quarterly, the Clean 200 list excludes all oil and gas companies as well as utilities which generate less than 50 per cent of their power from renewable sources. Also excluded are companies which engage in "negative climate lobbying" or profit from tropical deforestation, weapons manufacturing and the use of child and/or forced labor.

The list serves as a parallel listing to the "Carbon Underground 200" ranking of fossil fuel companies being targeted for divestment.

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