According to a new UNEP report some 155 $ billion was invested in 2008 in clean energy companies and projects worldwide, not including large hydro.
The clean energy investments in 2008 are more than a four-fold increase since 2004 according to a report „Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2009“, prepared for the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) Sustainable Energy Finance Initiative. Extremely difficult financial market conditions prevailed during 2008 as a result of the global economic crisis. Nevertheless the report indicates that investments in clean energy topped 2007's record investments by 5% in large part as a result of China, Brazil and other emerging economies. Of the 155$ billion, 105$ billion was spent directly developing 40 GW of power generating capacity from wind, solar, small-hydro, biomass and geothermal sources. Renewable energy currently accounts for the majority of investments and over 40% of actual power generation capacity additions last year. For the development of 25 GW large hydro the spent amount was 35$ billion.
UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said: “Without doubt the economic crisis has taken its toll on investments in clean energy when set against the record-breaking growth of recent years. Investment in the United States fell by two per cent and in Europe growth was very much muted. However, there were also some bright points in 2008 especially in developing economies—China became the world’s second largest wind market in terms of new capacity and the world’s biggest photovoltaic manufacturer and a rise in geothermal energy may be getting underway in countries from Australia to Japan and Kenya”. He also added; “Meanwhile other developing economies such as Brazil, Chile, Peru and the Philippines have brought in, or are poised to introduce policies and laws fostering clean energy as part of a green economy. For instance Mexico is expected to double its target for energy from renewables to 16 per cent as part of a new national energy policy,”.
Highlights from the report
• Green energy costs coming down; solar costs set to fall 43%
• Solar continues to be the fastest-growing sector for new investments; .5 billion, 49% growth on 2007
• Geothermal was the highest growth sector for investment in 2008, with investment up 149% and 1.3 GW of new capacity installed.
• Carbon markets continue upward
• Growth shifts to the developing world
• Many developing countries consider new approaches for introducing legislation and feed in tariffs
• 2009 and beyond, new investments in the first quarter of 2009 fell by 53% to .3 billion compared to the same period in 2008, reflecting the depth of the global financial crisis
• Small‐scale project developers in emerging markets are hit hard and are facing difficulties in finding adequate finance sources for their projects
• Due to Climate change, economic recovery and energy security far greater investments will be done in coming years.