Clean energy attracts its trillionth dollar
Bloomberg New Energy Finance finds that the trillionth dollar has been invested in clean energy since its records began
London and New York, 6 December 2011 – Bloomberg New Energy Finance has recorded the trillionth dollar of investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and smart energy technologies since its records started in 2004. The milestone was passed as negotiators and world leaders gathered in Durban for the latest round in the stalled international climate negotiations.
2004 was an important year in the clean energy sector: it was the year oil prices began their rise from $20-30 per barrel to the current range around $100; it was also the year in which Germany introduced its groundbreaking feed-in tariff rules, which have been widely copied around the world.
Like the recent birth of the world's seven billionth baby, it is impossible to pinpoint with certainty the one trillionth dollar of investment. However it is almost certain it took place during the last two weeks of November, probably somewhere in the developing world.
Among the investments that were made during this period, any of which might have been the trillionth dollar, were the following:
Rhodia Energy secured the Brazilian real equivalent of $60.5m in debt for the 77MW expansion of its biomass co-generation plant in Paraiso; China Huadian Corporation financed a 48MW wind farm in Fujian province; Marena Renovables Capital obtained debt from the Inter-American Development Bank towards the development of the 396MW La Ventosa wind farm in Mexico; and the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy got debt financing for the development of phase one of the 125MW Ouarzazate solar thermal project. In venture capital and private equity, electric vehicle specialist Fisker Automotive of the US landed $58m in the first tranche of a funding round. On public markets, biodiesel maker Petrotec of Germany raised the euro equivalent of $11m in cash and kind, via a rights issue.
Annual clean energy investment has risen nearly five-fold, from $52bn in 2004 to $243bn last year, a compound annual growth rate of 29%. Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects figures for 2011 once again to be in record territory, driven by fundings for US solar thermal projects, some large European offshore wind financings, continued high levels of activity in China and Germany, and the flowering of national renewable energy programmes in India.
"The trillionth-dollar milestone shows that the world is not waiting for a deal on climate in order to start turning the super-tanker away from fossil fuels,” said Bloomberg New Energy Finance chief executive Michael Liebreich. “It should serve as a message to the UN and all those in Durban to stop obsessing about a binding deal to cap carbon emissions, and to think much harder about how to speed up investment in the solutions. Another five years of investment growth at the same compound rates, and the world will have broken the back of emissions growth.”
As capital costs for wind, solar, geothermal, marine, hydro and bioenergy continue to fall, and as energy smart technologies remake the world's grids, clean energy investment flows are expected to maintain their long-term rise, supported by a network of policies and initiatives around the world.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance will publish its preliminary figures for total investment in clean energy in 2011 early in the New Year.
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