Nothing like cool, refreshing facts to support the desperate hope for a renewable energy revolution.
New investment in green energy was up nearly one-third globally in 2010 to a record US$211 billion. That’s 32 percent above the 2009 level and more than five times that of 2004, says the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Other facts from UNEP’s new report:
- Wind farms in China and rooftop solar panels in Europe were key drivers in the investment increase.
- China was the world leader in “financial new investment” – i.e., investment in utility-scale renewable projects and equity capital for renewable energy companies. The nation’s tally was US$48.9 billion, up 28 percent this year.
- Developing economies (which invested US$72 billion this year) overtook developed ones (US$70 billion) in financial new investment.
- Investments in small distributed capacity, e.g., rooftop solar, rose 132 percent in Germany to US$34 billion.
- Costs for renewable technologies are falling.
- Wind dominated financial new investment in large-scale renewable energy.
- Biggest percentage jumps in overall investment were in small-scale projects, up 91 percent to US$60 billion, and in government funded R&D, up 121 percent to US$5.3 billion.
“The finance industry is still recovering from the recent financial crisis,” Udo Steffens, president of the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, said in a UNEP news release. “The fact that the industry remains heavily committed to renewables demonstrates its strong belief in the prospects of sustainable energy investments.”
So there’s hope. And now facts.