UK drops out of global top 10 for clean energy finance

The UK suffered the largest decline in clean energy finance and investment of all the G-20 countries last year. And the reason for this, says a report published today, is […]

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By Kelvin Ross

The UK suffered the largest decline in clean energy finance and investment of all the G-20 countries last year.

And the reason for this, says a report published today, is that uncertainty surrounding clean energy policies in Britain is causing investors to look elsewhere for opportunities.

The study by US group The Pew Charitable Trusts found that globally, clean energy finance and investment grew significantly in 2010 to $243bn (£152bn), a 30% increase from the previous year.

China, Germany, Italy and India were among the nations that most successfully attracted private investments.

China continued to solidify its position as the world’s clean energy powerhouse, with $54.4bn in investments last year. Germany was second in the G-20, after experiencing a 100% increase in investment to $41.2bn.

“The clean energy sector is emerging as one of the most dynamic and competitive in the world, witnessing 630% growth in finance and investments since 2004,” said Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew’s Clean Energy Program.

“Countries like China, Germany and India were attractive to financers because they have national policies that support renewable energy standards, carbon reduction targets and/or incentives for investment and production that create long-term certainty for investors.”

The US, which had maintained the top spot until 2008, fell another rung in 2010 to third with $34bn.

The UK fell out of the top 10 completely, dropping fifth to 13th.

The report suggests that uncertainty surrounding clean energy policies in these countries is causing investors to look elsewhere for opportunities.

Italy attracted $13.9bn in clean energy financing last year, and is also the first country to achieve grid parity, or cost-competitiveness, for solar energy.

For the first time, India joined the top 10 ranking, attracting $4 billion, a 25 percent increase.

Wind power continued to be the favoured technology for investors, with $95bn going into turbines. However, the solar sector experienced significant growth in 2010, with investments growing 53% to a record $79bn and more than 17 gigawatts of new generating capacity globally. Germany accounted for 45% of these global solar investments.