A record $211 billion was invested in renewable energy in 2010, nearly 1/3 more than 2009 and a 540% increase from 2004. Encouragingly, renewable energy investments in faster-growing developing economies, at $72 billion, accounted for the single largest share for the first time, a dramatic shift from the 3/4-1/4 developed-developing economy split that existed back in 2004.
A total $70 billion was invested in renewable energy in developed economies in 2010, according to the United Nations Environment Program's "Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2011," which was prepared by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Large scale renewable energy project investment in China and small-scale investments in solar rooftops in Germany were notable drivers of investment demand in their respective regions. The latter more than compensated for a fall in large-scale investments in Europe, which fell 22% to $35.2 billion from 2009, according to the report.
At $48.9 billion, renewable energy investments in China topped the table in 2010, increasing 28% year-over-year. Strong growth was also evident in other emerging economies around the world.
Renewable energy investments were:
* up 39% to $13.1 billion in South and Central America;
* up 104% to $5 billion in the Middle East and Africa;
* up 25% to $3.8 billion in India; and
* up 31% to $4 billion in Asian developing countries excluding China and India.
Another encouraging sign for the longer term: government R&D investment in renewable energy surged more than 120% in 2010 to well over $5 billion.
"The continuing growth in this core segment of the Green Economy is not happening by chance," UNEP Secretary General and executive director Achim Steiner commented. "The combination of government target-setting, policy support and stimulus funds is underpinning the renewable industry's rise and bringing the much needed transformation of our global energy system within reach.''
An experienced, independent journalist, editor and researcher, Andrew has crisscrossed the globe while reporting on sustainability, corporate social responsibility, social and environmental entrepreneurship, renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology. He studied geology at CU, Boulder, has an MBA in finance from Pace University, and completed a certificate program in international governance for biodiversity at UN University in Japan.