Investments surge in wind power and other renewables

Wind farm plants was the preferred technology for investments in the global clean energy sector last year, attracting €67 billion, says a new report issued earlier this week.

“Wind turbines investment levels increased by 34% in 2010, and wind energy remains the leading recipient of clean energy investments,” according to the report, titled ‘Who’s winning the Clean Energy Race?’

“Investments in wind helped drive the addition of 40 GW of generating capacity and accounted for 48% of the annual clean energy investments in 2010.”

Published by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the report examined clean energy finance in G-20 nations, which include the EU, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. The report said €172 billion was invested in green energy last year, a 30% increase over 2009.

The report found that, collectively, the European region was the leading recipient of clean energy finance, attracting a total of €66 billion.

China, Germany, Italy and India were among the nations that most successfully attracted private investments, the report said.

“China continued to solidify its position as the world’s clean energy powerhouse,” the report said. “Its record [€38.5] billion in investments in 2010 represents a 39% increase from 2009.”

The report noted Germany was second last year among the world’s leading economies after experiencing a 100% increase in investment to €29 billion. In fourth place, Italy attracted nearly €10 billion in green energy financing.

Spain was at eighth spot with almost €3.5 billion invested, while France came in ninth with €2.8 billion invested. The rest of the EU-27 came in fifth place, with close to €9.5 billion invested. The US scored third place with €24 billion in investments.

The UK experienced the largest decline among G-20 nations, falling to 13th place last year, the report said, adding uncertainty surrounding clean energy policies causes investors to look elsewhere for opportunities.

Financiers are attracted to nations that support renewable energy standards, carbon reduction targets and/or incentives for investment and production that create long-term certainty, the report noted.

“The clean energy sector is emerging as one of the most dynamic and competitive in the world, witnessing 630% growth in finance and investments since 2004,” Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew’s Clean Energy Program, said in a press release.

By Chris Rose,