The United States is already running a roughly $4 billion trade deficit in renewable energy products.

Renewable energy is often touted as an important source of job creation. While this may be true, it turns out we're already behind the eight ball: as of 2009, the United States was already experiencing a roughly $4 billion per year trade deficit in renewable energy products. The vast majority of this deficit is driven by imports in wind and solar equipment like turbines, gearboxes, and photovoltaic modules (even though wind and solar currently account for less than one percent of our total energy consumption). Domestic firms are also at risk of losing overseas market share to foreign firms. As the U.S. market for renewable energy expands, policymakers should be cognizant of this cleantech deficit and enact policies that boost the competitiveness of domestic manufacturers to mitigate it, before it reaches the same proportion as our massive petroleum deficit.