Foreword from Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director
Investments in renewable energies, from wind and solar power to geothermal and waste-into-energy, continuedtheir remarkable growth in 2010.
A combination of stimulus package funds making their way into the market, the introduction of smart policieslike feed-in tariffs and target-setting sparked a record $211 billion of investment in renewable energy.
The more-than-$48 billion new investment in China merits attention in terms of scale and growth. Other highlights of this year’s report are rising investments across other parts of the developing world, and the sharpincrease in investment in small-scale renewables in countries such as Germany and Italy, where predominantly rooftop solar projects surged to $60 billion-worth of investment, up over 90% from 2009.
Excluding Brazil, Mexico took the lead in Latin America where investments, mainly in wind but also in geothermal,grew close to 350%, triggered in large part by a government decision to raise renewable energy capacity from 3.3% to over 7.5% by 2012.
Argentina, with a target of 8% of its energy to be sourced from renewables by 2016, saw investment grow nearly seven-fold to $740 million. 2010 also saw important investment in Chile, Peru and Venezuela. In Asia, Pakistan and Thailand saw investments tripling and quadrupling respectively. In Pakistan $1.5 billionworth of wind was financed and in Thailand $700 million-worth of investment flowed, mainly into large-scale photovoltaic projects.
Significant investment is also starting to be seen in Africa, which posted the highest percentage increase of all developing regions, if the emerging economies of Brazil, China and India are excluded.
In Egypt, renewable energy investment rose by $800 million to $1.3 billion as a result of the solar thermal project in Kom Ombo and a 220MW onshore wind farm in the Gulf of Zeit. In Kenya, investment climbed from virtually zero in 2009 to $1.3 billion in 2010 across technologies such as wind, geothermal, small-scale hydro and biofuels. Small but significant advances were also made in Cape Verde, Morocco and Zambia.
Renewable energies are expanding both in terms of investment, projects and geographical spread. In doing so, they are making an increasing contribution to combating climate change, countering energy poverty and energy insecurity, stimulating green jobs and meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
The UN climate convention in Durban later in the year, followed by the Rio+20 Conference in Brazil in 2012, offer important opportunities to accelerate and scale-up this positive transition to a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.
UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director