Change Alley

information, opinion, conversation

Renewable Energy Investment At Record Levels

with 3 comments

A new report from the United Nations Environment Programme, ‘Global Trends In Sustainable Energy Investment 2007′, says that global investment in sustainable energy has increased from $80 bn in 2005 to a record $100 bn in 2006.

The EU and the US were responsible for over 70% of investment in 2006, but the increase from 15% to 21% in developing economies is encouraging.

Renewables produce about 2% of the world’s energy, but now account for about 18% of global power generation investment, with wind technologies leading the way. Solar and bio-fuels grew even more quickly than wind, but from a lower base.

This sustained growth, in what can no longer be dismissed as a ‘niche’ sector, is attributed to concern over climate change, high oil prices and growing government support.


Written by Pete Smith

June 22, 2007 at 11:14 am

3 Responses

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  1. Good to hear.

    What is fascinating about the energy market at the moment is the huge amount of effort that’s going into developing more efficient technologies, systems and software, so that energy bills reduce. Then there’s the frontier stuff coming out from inventors looking to attract venture capitalists to alternative renewable energy ideas, who in turn are looking for the next big buck to be made. I think Dave brought The Coffee House’s attention to one such scheme; wind machines a mile or so up in the atmosphere!

    With that there’s the growing investment in renewables you mention, driven by government incentives and growing numbers of ‘green’ investment/pension funds looking for somewhere to put their money. The UN Kyoto CDM mechanism has played a part in this too by creating demand and funding streams.

    The only downside has been biofuels, particularly those causing deforestation as land is cleared for biofuel crops!

    But overall, we now have many different variables coming together to create the momentum for change. Very encouraging.

    You’ve just swung the other way Pete. Well done. 😉


    June 22, 2007 at 12:07 pm

  2. Regardless of climate change and who caused it, we are going to run out of oil and gas sooner rather than later, and coal sometime after that. Not overnight, it’ll be a long, steady decline of reduced production vainly trying to satisfy increasing demand.
    In this scenario, even if we persuade people, businesses and governments to reduce their consumption of energy, we’re going to have to generate electricity somehow, and I’d rather it was renewable than not.
    And every dollar invested in renewables is a dollar not spent on arms, or drugs, or pornography, or tobacco, or elephant foot umbrella stands.

    Pete Smith

    June 22, 2007 at 12:40 pm

  3. Hi y’all,

    While I agree with Pete, until he comes to the part about tobacco, there are consequences to a sudden and unplanned move toward renewable energy supplies. For one thing, our Government drive toward ethanol production has upped food prices considerably. It turns out, surprise, surprise, that almost everything we eat is connected to corn in one way or another. Since it is well on the way to doubling in price…

    I also read a bit of news this morning where, in the light of the US push for making ethanol, our oil companies, who last year were yelling at the Government to let them build more oil refineries, which is the chocking point keeping our gasoline prices so high, are backing off their on their desire to invest billions in new infrastructure.

    Oh, if only someone who could see past the next election was in charge!

    the Grit

    the Grit

    June 22, 2007 at 9:18 pm

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