photo via greenpeace
An astonishing US$211 billion was invested into renewable energy last year, up a third from 2009, according to a new United Nations report, Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2011. And what's more, so called developing economies spent more that developed ones, a big shift and a sign that they are not ready to repeat the same mistakes developed countries made by relying too heavily on dirty energy. UNEP attributed much of the growth to wind farm investment in China and rooftop solar in Europe, a trend that may be coming to the US if we adopt smart policies such as feed in tariffs. Interestingly, while small scale projects accelerated in Europe, large scale project investment decreased 22%.
All told, China led the way with $48.9 billion invested in clean energy. Other areas leading the way include:
-South and Central America: up 39% to $13.1 billion;
-Middle East and Africa: up 104% to $5 billion;
-India: up 25% to $3.8 billion, and
-Asian developing countries excluding China and India: up 31% to $4 billion.
Of course, the trend of increased investment in renewable energy will continue as prices for clean energy drop. For example, since 2009, wind turbine prices have fallen 18% per megawatt. The US will eventually dramatically increase its RE investment, but first it needs to pass a comprehensive energy plan that includes pricing carbon and setting aggressive targets for emissions reductions. Of course, Congress is all over that, right?