04 Jun 2009 09:06:07
Clean energy investment overtakes fossil fuels
The amount of money being invested into global renewable energy initiatives has exceeded the sum spent on carbon-based fuels for the first time, according to a new report by the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP).
In 2008, a record $155 billion (£94 billion) of new private investment finance was recorded in the clean energy sector, although this was an increase of only 5 percent over last year.
Of that figure, $105 billion was spent on developing 40GW of new power generation capacity primarily from wind, solar, biomass, small-hydro and geothermal sources.
An additional $35 billion was put into developing 25GW of large-scale hydropower projects.
Taken together, 65GW of low-carbon electricity generation was added globally last year, accounting for more than 40 percent of the total new capacity for 2008.
Achim Steiner, executive director of the UNEP, said: "Without doubt, the economic crisis has taken its toll on investments in clean energy when set against the record-breaking growth of recent years.
"However, there were also some bright points in 2008, especially in developing economies."
He singled out China for special praise as the country managed to become the world's second largest wind power generator in terms of new capacity last year.
The UNEP report indicated that wind power saw the biggest investment of all renewable energy sources last year, but geothermal projects enjoyed the fastest growth.http://tinyurl.com/ovwq7k