Global green energy spending jumps 60% in 2007

ENDS Europe Daily, 10 July 2008 - Last year saw record growth in global renewable energy and energy efficiency investment, according to new figures published by the UN's environment programme (Unep) last week.

Spending on clean energy projects rose to almost 94bn euro worldwide in 2007, up 60 per cent on 2006, according to the "Global trends in sustainable energy investment" report. Sustainable energies accounted for 23 per cent of total new power generation added worldwide last year, with 31 gigawatts of newly-installed capacity last year.

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Wind energy attracted the biggest share of investment, at nearly 32bn euro. But spending on solar power grew most rapidly — the level of 18bn euro in 2007 represented an average annual growth rate of 254 per cent since 2004.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) was the only sector with lower-than-expected growth. The report blames the trend on "murky regulatory and funding environments" and delays in establishing commercial CCS projects.

Europe continued to lead the world in clean energy investment, with the report citing "supportive policies and an investor base that is comfortable with financing renewable energy projects" as the main driving factors. The US was second, but the combined share of China, India and Brazil in global investment grew dramatically from 12 per cent in 2006 to 22 per cent in 2007.

Investment in energy efficiency technologies grew by 78 per cent in 2007 to 1.1bn euro. But spending was higher in the US, "despite the fact that its energy legislation lags behind Europe".

The report is upbeat on the prospects for clean energy financing in 2008. Despite a "somewhat subdued" start to the year, most areas of investment "rebounded" in the second quarter of 2008, with venture capital and private equity funding up 34 per cent compared with this time last year.

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