Global Clean Energy Investment Hits $27.3 Billion in First Quarter of 2010

May 19, 2010

Photo of tall turbine towers in a row in a flat, rural landscape.

These 1.25-megawatt wind turbines in Greensburg, Kansas, are examples of the clean energy growth.
Credit: Joah Bussert, Greensburg GreenTown

Despite the recession, several recent reports indicate that the clean energy sector continues to remain strong globally, despite the economic turbulence. An April 12 report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance noted that worldwide financial investment in clean energy reached $27.3 billion in the first quarter of 2010, up 31% from the first quarter of 2009, but down 13.6% from the fourth quarter. The financial analyst's quarterly figures cover asset financing of wind farms, solar parks, biofuel plants, and other projects, as well as public market, venture capital, and private equity financing for clean energy companies. While China dominated the asset financing with investments of $6.5 billion, Bloomberg's figures report a slight increase in asset financing in the United States, rising from $2.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009 to $3.5 billion in the first quarter of 2010. Global venture capital and private equity investment hit $2.9 billion in the first quarter, up from $1.7 billion in the previous quarter, but public market investment fell to $2 billion, down from $5.8 billion. Among the leaders for the quarter are electric vehicle infrastructure company Better Place, which sold $350 million in preferred stock, and Clipper Windpower, which received a $202 million investment from United Technologies Corporation. Bloomberg expects clean energy investments to set a record in 2010, possibly reaching $200 billion. See the Bloomberg New Energy Finance press release (PDF 25 KB). Download Adobe Reader.

In another study, the Clean Edge research firm tallied revenue for wind power, biofuels, and solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies in 2009, and found that they grew 15.8% to $144.5 billion worldwide. The report's authors noted that this was somewhat surprising, given the sour economy. Clean Edge highlighted the robust activity for installing new wind farms, which attracted $63.5 billion, up from $51.4 billion in 2008. The report also noted that sales of biofuels reached $44.9 billion last year. The only decline was in the PV industry, which Clean Edge said dropped 6% to $36.1 billion, in part because the cost of solar modules declined. Clean Edge issued its initial report in March, but updated it in late April to include new solar results from Germany, which brought the total PV capacity installed in 2009 to more than 7 gigawatts. Bloomberg New Energy Finance has also been updating its figures, increasing the investment totals for 2008 and 2009. The company now reports clean energy investments of $162 billion in 2009, up from the previously stated $145 billion, while the 2008 figure increased from $155 billion to $173 billion. See the Clean Edge press releases from March and April, the updated Clean Edge report, and the press release from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (PDF 88 KB).