Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2013 (http://www.unep.org/pdf/GTR-UNEP-FS-BNEF2.pdf) spotlights how resources for green economy transformation are increasing even in economically challenging times. According to the Secretary-General of United Nations Ban Ki-Moon, “energy will be a determining factor in whether the world can avoid dangerous climate change and make a transition to a sustainable, more inclusive global economy.”
Global investment in renewable energy reached $244 billion in 2012, this was 12% down on 2011’s record of $279 billion, but 8 percent increase in investment compared to 2010. Globally, renewable energy covers approximately 6.5 percent of energy consumption. Of this share, modern technologies such as solar and wind accounted for just 8.2 percent, even less than the 8.5 percent contributed by biomass. By comparison, more than 80 percent of electricity consumed worldwide still comes from fossil fuels.
China was responsible for almost one-fifth of total global investment, spending $52 billion on renewable energy last year. The United States was close behind with investments of $51 billion, as developers sought to benefit from government incentive programs before they expired. Germany, Italy and India rounded out the list of the top five countries. According to China’s 12th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development (2011-2015), the country will spend $473.1 billion on clean energy investments over the next five years. China’s goal is to have 22 percent of its total energy demand sourced from renewable energy by 2020.
In 2012, solar led the way as far as global investment in renewable energy, with investment surging to $147 billion, a year-on-year increase of 52 percent, due to strong demand for rooftop photovoltaic installations in Germany, Italy, China and Britain. Large-scale solar thermal installations in Spain and the United States also contributed to growth during the year. Wind power investment slipped 12 percent to $84 billion as a result of uncertainty about energy policy in Europe and fewer new installations in China, according to the report.
Ian Adlington, CEO, New Carbon Economics commenting on these issues said “Despite the substantial investments in solar energy, the industry is in turmoil. A number of large American manufacturers such as Solyndra, Evergreen Solar, SpectraWatt, Solar Millennium and Solon fell victim to price pressure from Chinese rivals that halved the cost of photovoltaic modules.”
Ian added: “The economics for the solar industry worldwide is likely to be dull unless there is a significant government support, which we are witnessing in China. This is distorting pricing structures on the one hand, whilst making solar power investments more affordable to the cost of those countries who proffer limited financial support. “
“The key component in mitigating economic paradoxes in terms of our carbon economy lies within limited international and government interference, for example taxing direct use of resources, rather than income. In addition, encouragement of free market economics, especially in the voluntary emissions reduction market, and the ability to monetize and trade on an international scale offsets from those short-lived climate forcers. Carbon economics is a long term perspective, which challenges the short-termism of our modern economic society.
The challenge is very big indeed. The economic cost of not rising to this challenge is greater. Price distortion will be difficult to manage, but those governments big enough to support the increased development of solar power will make this energy source very affordable, “– concludes Ian Adlington.
- Greenpeace Report Calls for Renewed Vigor in Asean’s Renewable Energy Drive (thejakartaglobe.com)
- France keen on solar power projects in Tamil Nadu (panchabuta.com)
- State Power Company Prices Renewable Energy at $77 Billion (thejakartaglobe.com)
- Russia Awards First Clean-Power Tender to Boost the Indus – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Analysis: 50 Percent Reduction In Renewable Energy Cost Since 2008 (theenergycollective.com)
- Harness Solar Energy for Low Carbon Future & Robust Economic Growth in USA; Ian Adlington, CEO New Carbon Economics (newcarboneconomicsblog.wordpress.com)
- Renewable energy expo witnesses grand opening (panchabuta.com)
- China’s Big Push for Renewable Energy Today (gayiko.wordpress.com)