Last week, Pew Charitable Trusts released a report indicating global renewable energy finance and investment rose to $263 billion in 2011, an increase of 6.5% from 2010.
The report also found that the US overtook China as the top nation in terms of private investments. The other G-20 nations that scored big are Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and India.
“Clean energy investment, excluding research and development, has grown by 600% since 2004, on the basis of effective national policies that create market certainty,” said director of Pew’s Clean Energy Program Phyllis Cuttino. She goes on to explain one of the biggest contributing factors for this exponential growth has been national policies that have helped attract private investors and, in the US, the stimulus package programs. The US alone attracted $48 billion in investment last year alone while China wasn’t too far behind with $45.5 billion.
Perhaps the most encouraging news is that the growth wasn’t limited to just one sustainable energy source. Solar increased globally by 44%, attracting about $128 billion. While solar accounts for more than half of all sustainable energy investment in the G-20 nations, 43 GW of wind power also got integrated.
2011 saw the overall installation of 83.5 GW in renewable energy.
Other key findings from the report include:
Led by 42 percent growth in the United States and 15 percent in Brazil, investment in the Americas region grew by more than 21 percent to $63.1 billion, faster than any other region.
The clean energy sector in the Asia/Oceania region increased more than 10 percent to $75 billion. Relatively flat investment in China was mitigated by sharp gains in India, Japan, and Indonesia, which were among the fastest-growing clean energy markets in the world.
The clean energy sector in the European region grew by a modest 4 percent but remains the leading destination for such investment, at $99.3 billion. Significant investment growth in Italy, the United Kingdom, and Spain helped to offset declines in other European Union member states. Germany and Italy continue to lead the world in deployment of small, distributed solar photovoltaic power installations, accounting for more than 50 percent of worldwide solar capacity additions, and 38 percent of G-20 solar technology investments.
The United States remains the leader in venture capital financing, an important measure of energy innovation, attracting $6 billion, or 70 percent of the G-20 total. Germany and China were distant followers, with $635 million and $458 million, respectively, in venture capital investments.