Climate change worries coupled with high oil prices and increasing government support top a set of drivers fueling soaring rates of investment in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries, according to a trend analysis from the UN Environment Programme.
The report says investment capital flowing into renewable energy climbed from $80 billion in 2005 to a record $100 billion in 2006. As well, the renewable energy sectors growth although still volatile ... is showing no sign of abating.
The report offers a host of reasons behind and insights into the worlds newest gold rush, which saw investors pour $71 billion into companies and new sector opportunities in 2006, a 43% jump from 2005 (and up 158% over the last two years. The trend continues in 2007 with experts predicting investments of $85 billion this year).
In addition to the $71 billion, about $30 billion entered the sector in 2006 via mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts and asset refinancing. This buy-out activity, rewarding the sectors pioneers, implies deeper, more liquid markets and is helping the sector shed its niche image, according to the report.
While renewables today are only 2% of the installed power mix, they now account for about 18% of world investment in power generation, with wind generation at the investment forefront. Solar and bio-fuel energy technologies grew even more quickly than wind, but from a smaller base.
Renewables now compete head-on with coal and gas in terms of new installed generating capacity and the portion of world energy produced from renewable sources is sure to rise substantially as the tens of billions of new investment dollars bear fruit.
Says UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner: One of the new and fundamental messages of this report is that renewable energies are no longer subject to the vagaries of rising and falling oil pricesthey are becoming generating systems of choice for i
Contact: Terry Collins
UNEP Division of Technology Industry and Economics