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UN report shows green energy investments rose 17% last year

UN report shows green energy investments rose 17% last year

Global investments in green energy surged by 17 per cent in 2014 to $270 billion.

The world witnessed a strong rebound in global green energy investment last year, despite the price of crude oil sharply declining from mid to late 2014, according to a report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

It was the first annual increase in dollars invested in and committed to renewables (excluding large hydro-electric projects) in the last three years, as total investment grew by 17 per cent to $270 billion.

103 gigawatts of green energy added in 2014

UNEP’s report showed that an extra 103 gigawatts (GW) of green energy was added across the planet in 2014, making it the best year ever for newly installed capacity. As technology costs continue to decline it means that every dollar invested has greater purchasing power and equates to significantly more generating capacity.

This is illustrated when comparing total annual investment to the generating capacity bought for the previous years.

Last year, $270 billion of investment equated to 103 GW - meaning each $1 billion spent purchased 0.38 GW. In 2013, total annual investment was $256 billion and bought 86 GW - so every $1 billion bought 0.34 GW.

An indispensable investment

"These climate-friendly energy technologies are now an indispensable component of the global energy mix and their importance will only increase as markets mature, technology prices continue to fall and the need to rein in carbon emissions becomes ever more urgent," said Achim Steiner, executive director of UNEP.

Most of the renewable energy investment was made in China last year, where a record $83.3 billion was spent, an increase of 39 per cent from 2013. The US saw the second-highest level of investment, while Japan came in third.

Solar and wind dominate

"The growing penetration of renewable generation in the world's developing economies is one of the important and encouraging aspects of the 2014 report," added Achim Steiner.

Solar and wind investment continued to dominate overall renewable energy spending, with China and Asia accounting for around half of the world’s total investment in solar energy.


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