China and Japan drive resurgence in clean energy investment

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The world has invested 16 per cent more in renewable energy in the first nine months of 2014 than was spent at this time last year; however advocates warned that it is still short of what is needed to meet C02 reduction limits by 2020.

Meanwhile the European Union, which sought to lead the way in promoting the technology, there has been a significant drop in investment recorded, according to the data released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Renewables

$175bn has been spent this year on solar power plants, wind farms and other forms of green power, arresting a decline in investment in the sector over the past two years, with China and Japan prominent in that revival.

Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board at Bloomberg New Energy Finance welcomed the figures, boosted by a $12bn spend on solar power by China and $8.6bn overall clean energy spend by Japan.

“However, there is no room for complacency because clean energy investment of between $200bn and $300bn a year is not large enough to herald the rapid transformation of the power system that experts say is required if the world is to see a peak in CO2 emissions around 2020. There is still too much policy instability holding back investor confidence,” he said.

China’s total solar installations are expected to reach about 14 GW of generating capacity by the end of this year, or nearly a third of the world’s total, while overall Japanese clean energy investment reached 17 per cent compared with the same period last year, again because of the growth of solar plants.

In Europe, once a powerhouse of green energy, just $8.8bn was committed in the third quarter, down from $12.1bn one year ago. UK and Italian investment fell 74 per cent.

RenewableUK’s Director of Policy Gordon Edge told Power Engineering International: “It’s disappointing to see that the UK is bucking the global trend of higher investment in renewables. However, there are occasions when there are spikes in investment over quarters and this could be due to the volatility of the offshore wind market at the moment."

"We have seen fewer projects reach investment decision in the past year, but we can expect this to change, especially with greater certainty surrounding the CfD mechanism. The protracted EMR process can also be a contributing factor to these figures”.

Global clean energy investment soared from $60bn in 2004 to $205bn in 2008, then hit a plateau during the financial crisis before rising to a peak of $317bn in 2011, the Bloomberg New Energy Finance figures show."

But it then sagged to $285bn in 2012 and $251bn in 2013, partly because of uncertainty about subsidies in Europe.



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