Global Investment in Renewable Energy hits record $257 Billion in 2011
Good news from the pages on a report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21).
Worldwide investment trends for renewable energy reveal 2011 as another record-breaking year for sustainable energy. Solar power had a big year, getting roughly twice the invested cash that went to windmills, and remains the 1st choice of our planet’s renewable energy sector.
U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce remains very encouraged by the record investment totals, but the industry’s rate of growth has slowed. 2011 saw a growth rate of 17% over the previous year, while 2010 posted a rate of 37% growth.
We blame our sluggish world economy for the slower pace, but escalating investment in renewable energy makes it pretty clear that our species has begun to accept global warming as fact that requires us to take action.
Our Business Climate has changed in response to our global climate.
Yes, we still have our share of global-warming refuseniks who espouse the “Science of Truthiness” to champion their brand of apathy. But their influence finds refuge at the fringe of public discourse. They grow ever more irrelevant to an audience that regularly complains about unusually hot summers, record snowfalls, and other erratic weather patterns. Skeptics who previously resisted hard data, found no difficulty believing their own eyes when record setting snowfalls forced FEMA to declare a state of emergency for Washington D.C. and the Mid Atlantic in February of 2010.
While the shale gas boom may have distracted investors with the promise of new sources for fossil fuel, China and The U.S. continued to outspend other nations to pursue sustainable energy through wind, solar power and other alternatives.
China currently leads the planet with the installation of wind turbines and remains the top hydro-power producer through 2011.
‘In 2011, renewable energy technologies continued to expand into new markets: around 50 countries installed wind power capacity, and solar PV capacity moved rapidly into new regions and countries. Solar hot water collectors are used by more than 200 million households as well as in many public and commercial buildings worldwide.’
Bolstered by falling component prices, total investment in solar power and panels came to $147 billion. Photovoltaic (PV) installations for solar found new homes on rooftops across Italy and Germany.
Meanwhile, smaller custom-scale (PV) installations drove investment with strong numbers for China and the UK. Finally, solar thermal power (CSP) showed hefty new investments for major projects in Spain and the US.
What lies ahead?
We’re gradually seeing the modular. (PV) panels installed around local businesses, grabbing free juice from the sky to power lighting units or specific electronic devices within the establishment. We’ll probably see quite a few more in years to come as innovation brings photovoltaic modules down from the rooftops in the form of easy-to-install units whose price tags make them a no-brainer to help reduce our electric bill.
On June 12, 2012, SDG&E, our local power utility, settled its latest lawsuit with the City of San Diego, agreeing to pay $27 Million dollars to settle all claims related to the Witch Creek fire which began in the early afternoon on Oct. 21st, 2007.
Sparking power lines ignited brush fires southeast of Santa Ysabel, merged with the Guejito fire, and then headed west to torch parts of Rancho Bernardo. SDG&E settled with the County of San Diego and various agencies last December for $24.5 million dollars. SDG&E has has shelled out more than $1.5 billion to insurance companies, individuals and governmental entities, and more suits are pending. Ironically, our utility concedes that their equipment caused this disaster, but they’ve never admitted wrongdoing.
Go solar power!
- Solar Passes Wind as #1 Renewable Energy Investment (solarfeeds.com)
- Global investment in renewable energy at record high (guardian.co.uk)
- Govts turn to renewables for rural electricity (eco-business.com)
- United Nations report pats National Solar Mission (panchabuta.com)