Global Renewable Energy Investments Growing

Joanna Schroeder

Despite global struggles with the economy, investments in renewable energy technologies have continued to grow in 2011. New investments in renewable power and fuels (excluding large hydropower and solar hot water) reached $257 billion, and increase $37 billion from 2010. This according to research conducted by the WorldWatch Institute’s Climate and Energy program. In addition, during 2011, investments in renewable energy were $40 billion greater than in fossil fuel based technologies.

In 2011:

  • Total renewable energy investment in industrial countries accounted for 65 percent of global investment. This is an increase of 21 percent to $168 billion in total.
  • The 35 percent of global new investment that went to developing countries increased 10 percent to $89 billion. Of this total, China, India and Brazil accounted for $71 billion.
  • “Financial new investment” in renewable energy installations in industrial countries outpaced investments in developing world. In 2010 investments in this category in developing countries surpassed those in industrial countries.
  • Driven by a 50 percent reduction in price from 2010 to 2011, $147.4 billion was invested in solar compared with $83.8 for wind projects and $10.6 billion for biomass and waste-to-energy.
  • Biofuels attracted the fourth highest total investment with $6.8 billion, followed by $5.8 billion for small hydro and $2.9 billion for geothermal installations.
  • China attracted $52.2 billion in new investments, the largest of any country and accounted for nearly 60 percent of the total new investments in developing countries and more than 20 percent of global total.
  • The United States had a 57 percent growth in investment over 2010 levels, outpacing all countries except India’s 62 percent. Overall, the United States ranks second in total national renewable energy investment at $50.8 billion, followed by Germany at $31 billion.
  • The International Energy agency projects that 90 percent of the growth in global energy demand during the next 25 years will come from developing countries.

“Renewable energy technologies can enhance access to reliable, affordable, and clean modern energy services,” said Evan Musolino, Climate and Energy Research Associate and report co-author. “They are particularly well suited for remote rural populations, and in many instances they can provide the lowest-cost option for energy access. For these potentials to be met, new investment in the sector is essential.”

biofuels, Energy, Geothermal, Hydro, Solar, Waste-to-Energy, Wind