NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), China has taken the top spot as the world's largest energy consumer and as a result is pledging to develop cleaner energy.
Last year, China consumed 2.252 billion tons of energy equivalents, almost 4% more than the United States, driven by growth in its industrial and infrastructure sectors. As for the future, the nation is likely to continue to see growth and is expected to witness a further increase in its appetite for energy. To help balance the correlation of growth and carbon dioxide emission, China has agreed to reduce its emissions based on GDP output through the use of alternative energy sources.
In fact, China plans on spending nearly $738 billion over the next 10 years developing cleaner energy sources and has already started doing so. Of the 60 nuclear reactors that are currently under construction around the world, nearly one-third of them are being constructed in China. Additionally, last year China built more wind turbines than any other country and is expected to install an additional 18 gigawatts worth of wind turbines this year. Lastly, China has attracted more than $11 billion in capital for renewable developments in the second quarter alone, more than the United States and the European Union combined.
In a nutshell, China's growing economy and emphasis on alternative energy spending is staggering and could pose an opportunity for investors. Some ways to play this are:¿ Market Vectors Nuclear Energy ETF (NLR), which allocates nearly 40% of its assets to uranium miners, who will reap the benefits of an increased number of nuclear plants. Additionally, NLR allocates nearly 27% of its weightings to Chinese companies which are involved in nuclear energy. ¿ Claymore/MAC Global Solar Energy (TAN), which allocates nearly 30% of its weightings to Chinese companies. TAN includes Chinese solar companies Yingli Green Energy (YGE) and LDK Solar (LDK) in its holdings. ¿ Market Vectors Global Alternative Energy ETF (GEX), which is a diversified play on alternative energy and allocates nearly 16.9% of its assets to Chinese companies. GEX's holdings are concentrated on companies whose technologies are involved with solar power, bio energy, wind power, hydro power and geothermal energy. ¿ PowerShares Global Clean Energy (PBD), which is a diversified play on alternative energy and allocates 13.45% of its assets to China. PBD is based on the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index, which is composed of companies that focus on greener and generally renewable sources of energy and technologies facilitating cleaner energy.