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UNEP Report Highlights Rise in Emerging Economies’ Investment in Clean Energy

© UNEP3 June 2009: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Sustainable Energy Finance Initiative (SEFI) and New Energy Finance have released this year's Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2009 Report. The report finds that investment in clean energy in 2008, although hampered by very difficult market conditions, topped 2007's record investments by 5%, largely as a result of China, Brazil and other emerging economies.

Of the US$155 billion invested in 2008 in clean energy companies and projects worldwide, US$105 billion was spent developing 40GW of power generating capacity from wind, solar, small-hydro, biomass and geothermal sources, while US$35 billion was spent on developing 25 GW of large hydropower.

This US$140 billion investment in 65GW of low-carbon electricity generation compares with the estimated US$250 billion spent globally in 2008 constructing 157GW of new power generating capacity from all sources. The report highlights that this means that renewables currently account for the majority of investment and over 40% of actual power generation capacity additions last year.

In the forward to the report, Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, underlines that investment in the sustainable energy market “has in some ways defied the global recession.” He adds that the biggest stimulus package for sustainable energy investments “will happen in Copenhagen if governments agree a scientifically-credible and forward-looking new climate agreement.” [UNEP press release] [The report]