4/15/2014 | 1 MINUTE READ

Global Spending on Renewable Energy Drops

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Renewable energy continued to gain share of world electricity generation in 2013 in spite of a global decline of investment to a four-year low of $214 billion from nearly $250 billion in 2012, according to the United Nations Environmental Programme.

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Renewable energy continued to gain share of world electricity generation in 2013 in spite of a global decline of investment to a four-year low of $214 billion from nearly $250 billion in 2012, according to the United Nations Environmental Programme.

UNEP attributes the 14% decline to dropping prices for photovoltaic systems and uncertainty about national energy policies. Its assessment appears in Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2014, which it co-produced with the Frankfurt School and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Click HERE to see the 16-page executive summary.

Last year's combined investments in renewables compares with $270 billion spent on fossil-fuel power, the study says. It estimates renewable reduced global carbon dioxide emissions in 2013 by 1.2 billion metric tons.

Spending on renewable energy projects dropped in all major markets last year. UNEP says investments fell 6% to $56 billion in China, 44% to $48 billion in Europe, 10% to $36 billion in the U.S., 1$ to $9 billion in Middle East/Africa, 15% to $6 billion in India and 54% to $3 billion in Brazil.

Among the report's highlights:

  • Solar capacity zoomed 26% to a record 39 gigawatts last year in spite of a 20% drop in investment to $114 billion.
  • Wind power investments slipped only 1% to $80 billion.
  • Spending on biofuels plunged 26% to a nine-year low of $5 billion.
  • Geothermal projects jumped 38% to $2.5 billion.

The report notes that stock prices for clean energy companies, which plummeted 78% over the past four and a half years, hit bottom in mid-2012 and jumped 54% last year as the industry emerges from a painful period of overcapacity and financial turmoil.