According to a just published report Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2011, prepared by Bloomberg New Energy Finance for the UN Environment Programme, total investment in renewable energy in developing countries now exceeds that in developed countries. To some extent that parallels what is happening in telecommunications: developing countries are leapfrogging over older technologies and are moving directly to the latest technology. In the case of telecommunications this means wireless technologies. In the case of energy, it means renewables.
Bloomberg identified the leading growth areas as wind energy in China and rooftop solar in Europe. Global investment in renewable energy is happening at a much higher rate than many Canadians might realize. Bloomberg reports that asset finance rose 19% to $128 billion in 2010, venture capital investment increased 59% to $2.4 billion, and public
market investment gained 23% to $15.4 billion.
Globally, Canada ranked sixth on financial new investment in renewables, behind China, Germany, the US, Italy and Brazil but ahead of Spain, France, India, and the Czech Republic in the top ten. Non-hydro renewable power capacity reached 8% of total world electricity capacity in 2010, up from 7% in 2009. Non-hydro renewables accounted for 60GW of capacity added worldwide in 2010, or 34% of the total, compared to 92GW for conventional thermal (coal, gas and oil), 5GW for nuclear, and 24GW for hydroelectric including pumped storage.
Bloomberg notes that “The tipping point where renewables becomes the predominant energy option now appears closer than it did just a few years back.”
The report, which provides extensive data on global investment in all forms of renewables, can be found at http://www.unep.org/Renewable_Energy_Investment/
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