Investment in renewables is 'green gold
Jul 2, 2008 - Reuters - ABC News
In what is being called a "green gold rush,"
global investment in renewable energy have surged some 60
per cent to $155 billion in 2007, a United Nations agency
Buoyed by soaring fossil-fuel prices and concerns
over the carbon dioxide emissions that fuel global warming,
investment in clean energy from sources like wind, solar
and biofuels last year rose three times faster then predicted
by the UN Environmental Program (UNEP).
"Just as thousands were drawn to California
and the Klondike in the late 1800s, the green energy gold
rush is attracting legions of modern day prospectors in
all parts of the globe," Achim Steiner, head of UNEP said.
"Clean energy in one of the strongest sectors
in the world in terms of investment activity," New Energy
Finance chief executive Michael Liebreich said, one of the
authors of the report.
Wind power attracted the most capital last
year at $53 billion - a third of all clean energy investment,
UNEP's Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2008
By March this year, global installed wind
capacity exceeded 100 gigawatts - enough to power around
75 million homes.
Investment in solar energy soared by 254 per
cent to $30 billion last year, while the biofuel sector
foundered with funds falling nearly one third to $2.2 billion,
the report says.
Overall, clean energy accounted for 23 per
cent of all new installed capacity in 2007.
The report says public investment in renewable
energy via the markets more than doubled to $24.5 billion
The renewable energy sector is expected to
grow to $472 billion in 2012, and up to $629 billion by
2020, UNEP says.
"We have a significant economic signal here,
that goes well beyond what, 10 years ago, energy think-tanks
or international financial institutions thought would happen,"
Mr Steiner said.
Developing nations like China, which recently
surpassed the United States as the world's top emitter,
are being encouraged by rich countries to embrace renewable
energy and adopt binding emissions targets under a new international
The Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period
expires in 2012, and governments are now racing to negotiate
a new agreement that they hope to have in place by the UN's
climate talks next year.
"The (UNEP report's) findings should empower
governments - both north and south - to reach a deep and
meaningful new agreement by the crucial climate convention
meeting in Copenhagen in late 2009," Mr Steiner said.