Report: Clean Energy Investment Shifting to Developing Nations

Clean energy was always a universal proposition, but certain parts of the globe just weren’t ready or able to make the investments necessary. According to some new research, that might be ready to change.

The report, Power Shifts—Emerging Clean Energy Markets, from the Pew Charitable Trusts, examines clean energy investment and deployment trends in developing countries. The report finds that 100 nations outside of the Group of 20 and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development attracted a total of $62 billion in clean energy investment from 2009 to 2013, much of it in a relatively small number of countries. In fact, almost half (45 percent) of the total five-year investment, $27.9 billion, occurred in 10 markets, where clean energy capacity grew by 91 percent, three times faster than any other supply option, over the five years.

“Developing countries are prioritizing solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources in order to reduce energy poverty, power economic progress, enhance national security by reducing imports, and protect the environment,” said Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew’s clean energy initiative.

The report identified these top 10 emerging markets. Each added some type of renewable technology to its generating fleet between 2009 and 2013:

10. Thailand
9. Bulgaria
8. Ukraine
7. Kenya
6. Peru
5. Taiwan, Province of China
4. Morocco
3. Vietnam
2. Pakistan
1. the Philippines.

Solar technologies led all sectors in clean energy investment in the top 10 markets over the period, attracting $12 billion, or 43 percent, of total clean energy investments. The wind industry registered the second-greatest sum at $7.7 billion, 28 percent of total clean energy investment.

The research finds that developing countries will account for the majority of worldwide power capacity growth over the next 15 years and that renewables are likely to account for 54 percent of new global capacity.

“A clear take-away from our research is that emerging markets have the potential to be important export opportunities for clean energy technologies from the United States,” Cuttino said. “With demand growing in coming years and decades, the United States should enhance its clean energy competitiveness and seize this new trade potential. Consistent policy prioritizing the innovation and deployment of renewables is essential.”

This report is a complement to Pew’s reports tracking 2009-13 clean energy investment in the countries that make up the Group of 20.

— Solar Builder magazine

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