GLOBE-Net, April 20, 2013 – Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? It’s a question being posed by many given the profound geographic and technological shifts underway in the global clean energy sector as new markets emerge and renewable capacity grows, according to research released by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
The sector demonstrated resilience in 2012, registering a record 88 gigawatts, or GW, of additional generating capacity, even though investment levels declined 11 percent, to $269 billion, from 2011. Among the Group of 20 nations, China reclaimed the top spot from the United States, attracting $65.1 billion, a 20 percent increase over 2011 and 30 percent of the total for the G-20.
The 11 percent decline in clean energy investments compared to 2011 levels was due in part to curtailed incentive programs in a number of countries, among them Spain, Italy, and Germany. Elsewhere, continuing support for clean energy led to record levels of investment in a number of nations, including China and South Africa.
Renewable energy installations grew by more than 11 percent to 88 GW, which reflected price reductions in wind, solar, and other technologies.
“For the third straight year, investment reached more than $200 billion, and 2012 ended with five times that of 2004. Every year, new markets open up and more renewable power is deployed around the world. Even though government policies have been uneven and unpredictable in certain markets, the economic, environmental, and security benefits of clean technologies are driving the sector forward. Countries that prioritize policy are positioning themselves for increased private investment, as well as manufacturing and job-creation opportunities.”
Shifting Markets and Technologies
Reflecting the trend toward emerging markets, clean energy investment is shifting from the West to the East. The Asia and Oceania region has grown nine straight years and in 2012 became the leading regional destination for clean energy investment, growing 16 percent to $101 billion and accounting for 42 percent of the global total. In contrast, policy uncertainty in Europe and the United States resulted in investment declines of 22 percent in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region, and 31 percent in the Americas.
Clean energy investment is also shifting across technologies. For the second year in a row, solar technologies attracted more financing than any other technology by a wide margin: $126 billion was invested in the subsector in 2012, or 58 percent of the G-20 total. China, Europe, and the United States were top markets for solar investment.
Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2012 Edition (PDF) is available for download
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