Investors put weight behind renewables, record US$2trn invested in tech

1 Apr 2015

Hesitant investors appear to be coming out of the woodwork when it comes to backing renewable technologies. A recent report indicates a record US$2trn has been invested over a decade.

In total last year, US$270bn was pumped into such technologies which resulted in the production of 103GW of electricity following a two-year dip in money being made available for clean energy development.

According to the report summary, the research used as the basis of these findings came from a report released Tuesday by the United Nations Environment Programme, the Frankfurt School, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

During 2011, when the record yearly total of investment was reached, totalling US$279bn, only 81GW of electricity was produced as a result which, the report claims, shows evidence of the improvement of renewable energy technology efficiency.

China is the most dominant force when it comes to renewable energy investment last year, topping US$83.3bn and up 39pc on 2013, which is considerably more than the US, which topped just under half this amount at US$38.3bn.

Governmental policy hindering progress

In a statement, Achim Steiner, UNEP’s executive director said, “In 2014, renewables made up nearly half of the net power capacity added worldwide.

“These climate-friendly energy technologies are now an indispensable component of the global energy mix. Their importance will only increase as markets mature, technology prices continue to fall and the need to rein in carbon emissions becomes ever more urgent.”

However, Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, raised caution about the future of renewables when it comes to Europe, and in some cases the US, as he spoke of barriers caused by government policies.

“Southern Europe is still almost a no-go area for investors because of retroactive policy changes,” he said. “In the US, there is uncertainty over the future of the Production Tax Credit for wind, but costs are now so low that the sector is more insulated than in the past. Meanwhile, the rooftop solar sector is becoming unstoppable.”

Renewable energy investment image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic