A gold rush of new investment into renewable power over the past 18 months has led the United Nations to conclude that clean energy could provide almost a quarter of the world’s electricity by 2030.
More than £35bn was injected into wind and solar power and biofuels in 2006, 43% more than the preceding year. Sustainable energy accounts for only 2% of the world’s total but the UN says 18% of all power plants under construction are in this sector.
The findings, outlined in the Global Trends in Sustainable Development annual review, represent a challenge to the received wisdom among energy experts that green power is likely to play only a marginal part in the energy mix until at least the second half of the century.
Says UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner: “One of the new and fundamental messages of this report is that renewable energies are no longer subject to the vagaries of rising and falling oil prices-they are becoming generating systems of choice for increasing numbers of power companies, communities and countries irrespective of the costs of fossil fuels.
“The other key message is that this is no longer an industry solely dominated by developed country industries. Close to 10 per cent of investments are in China with around a fifth in total in the developing world. We will need many sustained steps towards the de-carbonizing of the global economy. It is clear that in respect to renewables those steps are getting underway.”
More on the UNEP report here.