Renewable energy investments are shifting to developing nations as countries from Morocco to Chile pursue power sources that wean them off fossil fuel imports, two studies promoted by the United Nations said.
The gap on renewables spending between richer and developing countries shrank to 18 percent last year from 250 percent in 2007, marking a “dramatic change” in investment patterns, the statement said. Two-thirds of the 138 nations that now have clean-energy targets are in the developing world.
“The uptake of renewable energies continues worldwide as countries, companies and communities seize the linkages between low-carbon green economies and a future of energy access and security,” UN Environment Program Executive Director Achim Steiner said in the statement. “More and more countries are set to take the renewable energy stage,” he said, citing “the logic and the rationale of embracing a green development path.”
Total global investment in renewables fell to $244 billion in 2012 from $279 billion in 2011, due in part to a drop in the cost of solar and wind technologies, according to the reports. Solar photovoltaic installations rose to a record 30.5 gigawatts. Wind also hit a new annual record, with 48.4 gigawatts put in place.
“It is encouraging that renewable energy investment has exceeded $200 billion for the third successive year, that emerging economies are playing a larger and larger part, and that the cost-competitiveness of solar and wind power is improving all the time,” said New Energy Finance Chief Executive Officer Michael Liebreich. “What remains daunting is that the world has hardly scratched the surface. CO2 emissions are still on a firm upward trend and there was still nearly $150 billion of net investment in new fossil-fuel generating assets in 2012.”