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UNEP Releases Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment Report

11 June 2012: The Frankfurt School UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Collaborating Centre for Climate and Sustainable Energy Finance has released a report titled “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2012,” (GTR) prepared for UNEP by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The GTR contains chapters on: renewables investment by economic status of country; renewable energies in perspective, compared to fossil fuels and the importance of energy efficiency, and for use in mitigating climate change; the green economy; asset finance; small-scale projects; public markets; venture capital and private equity; research and development; mergers and acquisitions; and investment sources. According to the report, investments in renewable reached $257 billion in 2011, an increase of 17% on the previous year. The report notes that developing economies made up 35% of this total investment, compared to 65% from developed economies.

The report also highlights rapidly falling technology costs in 2011 that have brought wind and solar power into close competition with conventional fossil fuel sources of energy such as coal and gas. Other key findings of the report include: total investment in solar power jumped 52% to US$147 billion in 2011, almost twice the investment in wind energy; small-scale renewables projects attracted US$76 billion of investment worldwide in 2011, up 25% from 2010; and share prices in the renewable energy sector were poor in 2011, due to over-capacity in the solar and wind manufacturing chains and investor unease about the direction of support policies in both Europe and North America, which have been weakened due to the economic and financial crises. The report warns that this weakening of policy comes at a particularly bad time, as renewables are only a few years away from becoming fully competitive with fossil fuels, but need policy support to continue moving in this direction.

The GTR was launched in tandem with its sister publication, the Renewable Energy Global Policy Network for the 21st Century's (REN21) annual flagship publication, the “Renewables 2012 Global Status Report” (GSR). [Publication: Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2012] [IISD RS Summary of REN21 Renewables 2012 Global Status Report]