Global investment in renewable sources, biofuels, smart energy, and energy storage fell for a second straight year in 2013, to $254 billion, a report from the finds.
According to the report, (57 pages, PDF), public and private investment in clean energy fell 11 percent on a year-over-year basis, following a 9 percent decline in 2012. Among the G-20 industrialized countries, investment dropped 16 percent — due in part to the curtailment of clean energy incentives in Europe and uncertainty about U.S. policy — with the only increases registered in Japan, Canada, and the United Kingdom. China remained the top regional and global market, attracting $54.2 billion, or 29 percent of overall G-20 clean energy investment. In contrast, clean energy investment in non-G-20 markets grew 15 percent, with promising sectors emerging in both Chile and Uruguay.
While the lower investment levels led to a 1 percent reduction in installed capacity worldwide, solar generating capacity increased 29 percent, due in part to a near-doubling of investment in Japan's solar sector, outpacing wind energy for the first time. Indeed, wind capacity additions declined by more than 40 percent, with the U.S. accounting for more than half the decline. The report expects solar to be the leading clean energy technology in both investment and capacity for the next several years.
"While there was an overall decline in investment, there are signs that the sector is reaping the rewards of becoming a more mature industry," said Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew's . "Prices for technologies continue to drop, making them increasingly competitive with conventional power sources. Key clean energy stock indexes rose significantly in 2013, with public market financing up by 176 percent. Markets for clean energy technologies in fast-growing developing countries are prospering, because these economies view distributed generation as an opportunity to avoid investments in costly transmission systems."