Tide turns in favour of green energy

In attracting investment for power generation in 2008, green-energy sources overtook fossil fuels for the first time, the Guardian reported, citing United Nations figures. Clean technologies drew US$140 billion in investment, compared with US$110 billion for gas and coal, with the biggest growth coming from China, India and other developing countries.

Of the roughly US$119 billion in new green renewable-energy investment in the financial sector alone last year, US$49.7 billion went to Europe, US$30.1 billion to North America and US$24.2 billion to Asia and Oceania. South America received US$12.3 billion, while a total of US$2.6 billion went to the Middle East and Africa.

The report, Global Trends in Sustainable Energy, was prepared by New Energy Finance, a London consultancy. Developing countries are catching up fast on the west, it found, as they switch from fossil fuels to renewable sources to improve their energy security and address the challenges of climate change.

“There have been many milestones reached in recent years,” said Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, “but this report suggests renewable energy has now reached a tipping point where it is as important, if not more important, in the global energy mix than fossil fuels.”

Steiner said he was encouraged that a variety of new renewable sectors were attracting capital and that countries such as Kenya and Angola were entering the field.

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