LONDON and NEW YORK - New investment in global clean energy reached $243 billion in 2010, driven by China’s clean energy spending, expansion of European offshore wind, and installations of rooftop photovoltaics in Europe, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The research company noted that this annual total is up 30 percent from a revised figure of $186.5 billion in 2009, making 2010 the strongest year so far for investment in clean energy. The 2010 total is nearly five times that of 2004, when $51.7 billion was invested.

The report included investment in renewable energy, biofuels, energy efficiency, smart grid and other energy technologies, carbon capture, as well as storage and infrastructure for clean energy.

Among the highlights: small-scale, distributed generation projects surged by 91 percent last year to $59.6 billion, propelled by rooftop and other small-scale solar projects, notably in Germany but also in the United States, the Czech Republic, and other European countries; China’s spending on clean energy grew 30 percent to $51.1 billion in 2010, making it the country investing most in clean energy; research and development by companies and governments hit record levels, with governments contributing $21 billion of the $35.5 billion in R&D outlays; and venture capital and private equity rebounded to post a 28 percent gain over 2009 by reaching $8.8 billion in deals.

In terms of clean energy technologies, overall investment in wind gained 31 percent to reach $96 billion, with almost 40 percent of that amount claimed by China or by large European offshore wind projects. On the down side, biofuels had a nearly flat year, with funding down to $7.9 billion from $8.1 billion in 2009, while biomass and waste-to-energy funding dropped to $11.6 billion from $12 billion.

Publication date:02/14/2011