Renewables booming – though not in Australia
Global investment in low-carbon energy surged to a record USD 243bn last year, boosted by a 30 per cent spending increase in China and a burst in small-scale solar-power installations.
The figure eclipses the $186.5bn spent in 2009 and is more than double the level in 2005, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said this week in a statement.
Most of the growth came from China, the US and Europe.
Australia was not mentioned in the report.
Investment in China expanded 30 percent to $51.1 bn, according to the study. Offshore wind and solar both had particularly good years.
Investment in solar power grew 49 per cent to $89.3bn, driven largely by distributed generation projects in Europe.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that 86 per cent of investment in small‐scale solar took place in markets where feed‐In tariffs have been introduced. Australia has no feed-in tariff regime for large scale plants.
Overall investment in wind gained 31 per cent to reach $96bn. Some 38 per cent of this total was accounted for either by China or by large European offshore wind farms.
Energy‐smart technologies such as smart grid, energy management, electric vehicles and power storage also had a strong year, with financing of companies in this sector reaching a record $23.9bn, up 27 per cent on 2009.
Biofuels had almost a flat year, with overall investment down slightly to $7.9bn from $8.1bn in 2009 and far below the record of $20.9bn set in 2006 during the US’s corn‐based ethanol bubble.
Biomass and waste‐to‐energy was also flat, at $11.6bn, compared with $12bn in 2009.
Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said the results were spectacular but industries needed to reduce their reliance on government support.
“More than in most years, growth has been in fairly direct response to government intervention, whether in the form of cheap debt in China, sweet off‐take deals for European offshore wind, feed‐in tariffs for solar or a regulatory push for smart grids,” he said.
“The industry needs to continue to drive down its costs and reduce its reliance on this sort of support.”
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