Poor Countries Tap Renewables at Twice the Pace of Rich

Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) — Emerging markets are installing
renewable energy projects at almost twice the rate of developed
nations, a report concluded.

A study of 55 nations — including China, Brazil, South
Africa, Uruguay and Kenya — found that they’ve installed a
combined 142 gigawatts from 2008 to 2013. The 143 percent growth
in renewables in those markets compares with an 84 percent rate
in wealthier nations, which installed 213 megawatts, according
to a report released today by Climatescope.

The boom in renewables is often made for economic reasons,
Ethan Zindler, a Washington-based Bloomberg New Energy Finance
analyst, said in an interview. An island nation like Jamaica,
where wholesale power costs about $300 a megawatt-hour, could
generate electricity from solar panels for about half as much.
Similarly, wind power in Nicaragua may be half as expensive as
traditional energy.

“Clean energy is the low-cost option in a lot of these
countries,” Zindler said by telephone. “The technologies are
cost-competitive right now. Not in the future, but right now.”

Climatescope was developed two years ago by Bloomberg New
Energy Finance, the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank Group and the U.K. Government
Department for International Development to track clean energy
in 26 Latin American and Caribbean nations. This year’s report
includes 19 African nations and 10 in Asia, research supported
in part by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Clean-Energy Economies

The nations included in the study increased total
renewables investment to $122 billion last year, more than
double the 2007 sum of $59.3 billion.

The 55 nations in the Climatescope study have passed more
than 450 measures linked to renewables, including South Africa’s
renewables program, which awarded 17 bids for projects about a
year ago. About $10 billion has been invested in that country in
the past two years.

“They’re very proactively trying to build their clean-energy economies themselves,” Zindler said. “They’ve learned a
lot of the lessons about what it takes to grow clean-energy
capacity and are taking steps to do it.”

The International Energy Agency said Oct. 13 that renewable
energy and hydropower will supply almost half of the generation
required for growth in Africa through 2040, as the sub-Saharan
economy quadruples. Energy use in that region, up 45 percent
since 2000, is expected to climb 80 percent through 2040.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Justin Doom in New York at
jdoom1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at
landberg@bloomberg.net
Will Wade, Tina Davis

About BloombergNEF

BloombergNEF (BNEF), Bloomberg’s primary research service, covers clean energy, advanced transport, digital industry, innovative materials and commodities. We help corporate strategy, finance and policy professionals navigate change and generate opportunities.

Available online, on mobile and on the Terminal, BNEF is powered by Bloomberg’s global network of 19,000 employees in 176 locations, reporting 5,000 news stories a day.
 
Sign up for our free weekly newsletter →

Want to learn how we help our clients put it all together? Contact us