UN reports 60% spike in sustainable energy investments

Solar shines but wind remains largest renewables sector.

Investment into sustainable energy sectors jumped by over 60% during 2007 with the amount of money raised reaching $148.4bn (€96bn), according to a study by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Total financial transactions in sustainable energy, including acquisition activity, represented $204.9bn, UNEP said. The report, titled: “Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2008,” found that investment into solar power grew fastest over the year, attracting $28.6bn of new capital. Investment into solar projects has now grown at an average annual rate of 254% since 2004. UNEP said wind energy attracted the most investment in 2007 at $50.2bn. Significantly, wind projects attracted more new investment over the year than nuclear or hydropower projects. Investment in sustainable energy companies on public markets also raced ahead in 2007, with in-flows of $23.4bn, more than double the $10.5bn raised in 2006. However, UNEP said the credit crisis in financial markets had started to show through in its research for early 2008, with few new listings on thepublic markets and stock prices down 17.9%.
Interest in clean energy projects also surged in 2007 to $35bn with a notable surge in early-stage venture capital investment, which rose 112% to $2bn in 2007, boosted by interest in emerging renewable technologies rather than just those close to commercialisation. The report said that total market research & development (R&D) spending on clean energy and energy efficiency was $16.9bn in 2007, including corporate R&D of $9.8bn and government R&D of $7.1bn. UNEP said increasing climate change worries, growing support from world governments, rising oil prices and energy security concerns had combined to fuel the record-setting year of investment in renewable energy and efficiency.
Separately, the World Bank is to create two funds with commitments estimated at $5bn to help developing countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the consequences of climate change.
Link to UNEP report