New renewable energy numbers provide insights
Renewable energy presents an answer to two seemingly opposing questions. How do we restart our economy and minimize the risks of climate change?
By Nicholas Abraham
Even with venture capital investment low, and the overall risk-averse market, renewable energy investment is on the rise. The newest report from the UN and Bloomberg Finance on Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment is in, and the future looks bright.
Investment reached an all time high of $257 billion, a 17% increase from last year; a sign that renewables are “drawing level with fossil fuels in some markets”. The big winner was solar, up 52% from 2010. While major headlines have been showcasing the solar failures of late, the report pointed out this as a sign that the solar market is maturing. The sector is “consolidating” and, with any new industry growth, there will be some initial growing pains.
While these are encouraging signs, the report did point out major barriers for further growth. Austerity measures in Europe, and a shift in policy focus here in the US, has potential investors nervous and worried about financing for the future. This lack of faith in renewables from both lenders and politicians is both short sighted and uninspired. Yes this is coming at a grave time for the world economy, but this is the exact wrong time to be pulling back from clean energy investment. The political obstacles are all coming at the same time that falling technology costs have put solar and wind within reach of pulling even with fossil fuels (per kwh).
Renewable energy advancement is at a critical crossroads. We can remain beholden to the polluting, low investment potential fossil fuels of our past; or we can look just beyond the horizon and see the economic and environmental potential that expanding this still underdeveloped market holds. These advancements are not some distant hope for the future. These energies are, in many markets, competitive today and have shown no signs of slowing.
This is no longer just an environmental risk investment, which on its own can be argued as a wise financial decision. Renewable energy presents an answer to two seemingly opposing questions. How do we restart our economy and minimize the risks of climate change? The market growth potential for renewable energy should be seen as an opportunity to come out of this crisis better than we entered it; providing the answer to the two dominant questions of our time.