2012 global clean energy investments decline, as capacity grows

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The rise of emerging markets in the renewable energies sector is causing a "West to East geographical shift." The leaders are India and China.

In India, solar investments went down 45% to US$2.3 billion; 1 GW of new solar generating capacity was added. Overall, the country has set an ambitious target of installing 3 GW of clean by 2017.

"While clean energy investment was down in India in 2012, recent policy initiatives demonstrate the country’s ongoing commitment to solar, wind, and other renewable energy technologies. We expect India to remain a key clean energy market for years to come," predicted Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew’s clean energy program, created by the non-profit organization.

With respect to the top clean energy investment countries, China reclaimed the top ranking from the U.S., with a total of $65.1 billion in investments, a 20% increase over 2011, according to the Pew report. It added 23 GW of clean energy generating capacity, bringing its total to 152 GW, the highest in the world, says the reported.

The United States fell to number 2 with a 37% drop in investments to US$35.6 billion. Germany ranked third with a decline of 27% to $22.8 billion. Nevertheless, it added 7.5 GW of solar generating capacity, the most of any G-20 country.

Meanwhile, South Africa was the fastest-growing market in the G-20, with investment growing from less than $ 30 million in 2011, to $5.5 billion in 2012. The solar sector attracted $4.3 billion of investment in 2012.

Green energy investments exploded in Japan last year, increasing 75% to $16.3 billion, almost all in the solar sector, which added more than 2 GW of generating capacity. This nation climbed to number 5 in the investment ranking for last year.

In 2012, a total of €269 billion was invested in clean energy. The 11% drop in investments is partly due to "curtailed incentive programs in a number of countries, among them Spain, Italy, and Germany". However, a record 48.6 GW of wind and 31 GW of solar generating capacity were deployed in 2012, says the report. The total worldwide installed capacity is 648 GW.

Finally, clean energy investments are also shifting across technologies. For the second year in a row, solar technologies attracted more financing than any other technology by a wide margin. A total of $126 billion were invested.

As reported yesterday, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) released a report on global investment in clean energy in the first quarter of 2013. It states that investment was the lowest in this period since 2009. Nonetheless, BNEF predicts that solar installations will grow by about 20%.