UN: Developing world beat developed nations in green investment

Global investment in renewable energy hit a new record in 2015, with the developing world beating developed nations for the first time. New figures reveal around $285.9 billion (£202bn) was […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Global investment in renewable energy hit a new record in 2015, with the developing world beating developed nations for the first time.

New figures reveal around $285.9 billion (£202bn) was invested last year, beating the previous high of $278.5 billion (£196.8bn) set in 2011.

That was for 134GW of green capacity, resulting in the reduction of 1.5 gigatonnes of CO2 emissions.

Published by the Frankfurt School-United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Collaborating Centre for Climate and Sustainable Energy Finance and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the report found $156 billion (£110bn) was invested by developing countries – up 19% on 2014 and 17 times the equivalent figure for 2004.

That’s in comparison to developing countries investing $130 billion (£91.8bn) last year – down 8% and their lowest tally since 2009.

A large part of the “record-breaking” investment in developing nations took place in China, which has been the single biggest reason for the near-unbroken uptrend for the developing since since 2004, the report stated.

It added India also raised its commitment to renewables in 2015.

Developing nations excluding China, India and Brazil increased their investments by 30% last year to an all-time high of $36 billion (£25bn) – 12 times their figure for 2004.

Among the “other developing” economies, those putting large sums into renewable energy were South Africa, Mexico and Chile, with the highest at $4.5 billion (£3bn).

Morocco, Turkey and Uruguay also saw investments beat the $1 billion (£0.7bn) barrier last year.

Solar saw a 12% rise to $161 billion (£113.8bn) while wind a 4% boost to $109.6 billion (£77.5bn). They were followed by biomass and waste-to-energy, small hydro, biofuels, geothermal and marine energy.

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General said: “We have entered a new era of clean energy growth that can fuel a future of opportunity and greater prosperity for every person on the planet.”

However he added: “Sustainable, renewable energy is growing but not quickly enough to meet expected energy demand. For power sector development to be consistent with the goal of zero net greenhouse gas emissions in the second half of the century, it will be necessary to reduce or leave idle fossil-fuel power plant capacity, unless carbon capture technologies become widely available and are rapidly and fully utilised.

“For the low carbon transformation of the global economy to succeed, governments will need to create a level playing field for clean energy investment through carbon pricing, removing fossil fuel subsidies and strengthening stable and predictable regulatory and investment environments.”