Green energy overtakes fossil fuel investment, says UN

Green energy overtook fossil fuels in attracting investment for power generation for the first time last year, according to figures released today by the United Nations.

Wind, solar and other clean technologies attracted $140bn (£85bn) compared with $110bn for gas and coal for electrical power generation, with more than a third of the green cash destined for Britain and the rest of Europe.

The biggest growth for renewable investment came from China, India and other developing countries, which are fast catching up on the West in switching out of fossil fuels to improve energy security and tackle climate change.

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"There have been many milestones reached in recent years, but this report suggests renewable energy has now reached a tipping point where it is as important — if not more important — in the global energy mix than fossil fuels," said Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN's Environment Programme.

It was very encouraging that a variety of new renewable sectors were attracting capital, while different geographical areas such as Kenya and Angola were entering the field, he added.

The UN still believes $750bn needs to be spent worldwide between 2009 and 2011 and the current year has started ominously with a 53% slump in first quarter renewables investment to $13.3bn.

Counting energy efficiency and other measures, more than $155bn of new money was invested in clean energy companies and projects, even though capital raised on public stock markets fell 51% to $11.4bn and green firms saw share prices slump more than 60% over 2008, according to the report, Global Trends in Sustainable Energy, drawn up for the UN by the New Energy Finance (NEF) consultancy in London.

Article continues: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jun/03/renewables-energy

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