Global clean energy finance and investment grew to a record $263 billion in 2011. According to new research released by The Pew Charitable Trusts, this represents a 6.5 percent increase over 2010. The US reclaimed the top spot from China, which has led the global clean energy race since 2009. Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, India were all in the top ten for clean energy investment in 2011.
“Clean energy investment, excluding research and development, has grown by 600 percent since 2004, on the basis of effective national policies that create market certainty,” said Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew’s Clean Energy Program. “This increase was due in part to the number of countries that have implemented effective national policies to support the clean energy market. In the United States, which attracted $48 billion last year, investors took advantage of the country’s stimulus programs before they expired at the end of 2011, as well as the production tax credit for electricity from renewable energy, which is to end this December.”
The price of solar fell by half in 2011 and the price has fallen by 75 percent compared to three years ago. Driven by these significant price declines, solar increased by 44 percent in 2011, attracting $128 billion and accounting for more than half of all clean energy investment among members of the G-20. Wind prices also were lower in 2011. In 2011 clean energy generating capacity grew by a record 83.5 gigawatts (GW). Almost 30 GW of new solar and 43 GW of wind power were deployed.
China was second with $45.5 billion in clean energy investment. However China led the world in wind power with 20 GW of installed capacity. China is also the world leader in terms of renewable energy attractiveness.
Germany came in third with $30.6 billion of clean energy investment including 7.4 GW of solar power. Italy is in fourth place with $28 billion in clean energy financing last year, an increase of 38.4 percent from 2010. The country deployed a record of nearly 8 GW of solar generating capacity. Over the last five years Italy has led the world when investment levels are factored relative to the size of the country’s economy.
According to statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change the renewable energy sector contributed to a record breaking 9.6 percent of the electricity supplied by the UK grid in 2011. This is an encouraging 50 percent increase on the figures from 2010.
India came in sixth with $10.2 billion in clean energy investment that is up 54 percent. India has the ambitious goal of installing 20 GW of power by 2020. In 2011 solar received $4.2 billion in investments while wind received $4.6 billion.
© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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