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Investment in green energy soared to $211 billion in 2010

By Kieran Ball - 07 Jul 2011 17:20:0 GMT
Investment in green energy soared to $211 billion in 2010

The UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) Division of Technology, Industry and Economics reports that investment in green energies was up 32% in 2010, compared to the previous year and has now risen 540% since 2004. The latest increase was largely due to new wind farms in China and a rapid uptake of residential solar panels in Europe.

Notably, it was developing countries that were seen to be making up the vanguard, forging ahead with green energy investment and development. China, in particular, invested $48.9 billion, an increase of 28% on 2009.

Sustained high costs for fossil fuels and government incentives all seem to be playing a role in driving investment in renewables, although clearly many countries are realising future prosperity means lowering their dependency on fossil fuels. This is borne out by the fact that government research and investment was up a staggering 120%.

The report comes as part of a collaboration between UNEP, the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Entitled Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2011, the statistics show South and Central America increased their investment in renewable energy by 39%, Africa was up 104% and India upped their input by a further 25%.

UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner, said the growth was not a coincidence:

"The combination of government target-setting, policy support and stimulus funds is underpinning the renewable industry's rise and bringing the much needed transformation of our global energy system within reach."

Wind power continued to dominate in the renewables sector, as the cost-effectiveness of both wind and solar power soared to new heights. It wasn't all good news however. In Europe there was a decline in large scale renewable energy projects, but this was offset by an increase in domestic solar power investment thought to have come about by a decrease in the price of photovoltaic cells. The report suggests that the cost of installing solar, wind and other renewable technologies will continue to fall for the foreseeable future.

It would appear that the tipping point where renewable energy becomes the preferred choice, both in terms of cost and infrastructure, is closer than ever. As the price of fossil fuel shows no sign of coming down, the signs are that investment in renewable energy for both domestic and large scale use will only continue to accelerate in the coming years.

Top Image Credit: © Giava