A new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) “flies in the face of skepticism about the clean-energy sector among public market investors,” BNEF chief executive Michael Liebreich says. The report finds that worldwide investment in low-carbon technology climbed from $186.5 billion in 2009 to $243 billion in 2010.
Where did much of the increase come from? China, of course. China increased its spending on low-carbon technologies 30% and invested $51.1 billion in total, more than one-fifth of the world total.
Boom in Small-Scale Solar Projects
There was also a significant increase in small-scale solar power installations, the report found, a good sign for those of us into the idea of distributed energy. Investment in these small-scale projects, which include rooftop solar projects, increased 91%, reaching $59.6 billion.
Cleantech Investment Halfway There
2010 cleantech investment was more than double 2005 cleantech investment. And Liebreich notes that this tremendous increase and landmark investment level is a good sign for achieving the level of investment needed to combat accelerated global climate change.
“We have been saying for some time that the world needs to reach a figure of $500 billion per annum investment in clean energy if we are to see carbon emissions peak by 2020. What we are seeing in these figures for the first time is that we are halfway there.”
Technologies considered to be cleantech in this report include wind and solar power, energy efficiency, smart-grid equipment, biofuels, and carbon capture and storage.
Cleantech Subsidies (and Fossil Fuel Subsidies)
The researchers note that the increase in investment was directly tied to government incentives, especially those in China and Europe. Imagine if the U.S. got on board on the national level more in this fast-growing job-creation industry.. and imagine if global or even just U.S. cleantech subsidies compared to global or U.S. fossil fuel subsidies (e.g. if solar got the same subsidies as coal).
The researchers of the report above note that clean technologies need to drop in cost and rely less on subsidies in the future. I won’t argue with them, but I think it would help even more if fossil fuel subsidies were cut, which, thankfully, is something Obama and other world leaders have been pushing for.
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