Bloomberg releases renewable energy investment totals for 2014: How did Australia fare?

Bloomberg New Energy Finance recently released its overview on renewable energy investment in 2014. Despite the fact that worldwide investment in clean energy technologies rose by nearly 17 per cent, Australia's national investment plummeted. In fact, investment in green energy fell by about 35 per cent in Australia, totalling just US$3.7billion (about AU$4.5 billion) over the course of the year.

International and national investments overview

The report surveyed investment in renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric and other clean technologies. On a global scale, there was an obvious shift toward these kinds of energy sources, with the total investment in renewable technologies totalling about US$310 billion (AU$383 billion) in 2014.

China topped the list of countries with the largest increases in this type of energy investment. It spent about US$89.5 billion (about AUS$109.9 billion) on green sources. The United States' levels of investment rose by about 8 per cent, following the global trend to increase spending on clean energy.

Australia's energy gridlock

Although renewable energy generation is increasing abroad, it has stagnated at home. While some business and government figures maintain that it's important to bulk up the renewable sector, others have questioned the necessity and attainability of the current Renewable Energy Target (RET), which states that Australia must work toward a renewable energy production total of 41,000 gigawatt hours per year by 2020.

The decision to review the RET came as a shock to many Australians, the majority of whom believe that investment in clean energy is important. In fact, a recent survey commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund found that about 89 per cent of Aussies believe renewables will be an important component of Australia's energy policy both now and in the future.

"Australia is not just at risk of falling behind the rest of the world on renewable energy, we have already slipped off the back of the wave," Darren Gladman, policy director for the Clean Energy Council, told the Sydney Morning Herald. "We have some of the best sun, wind and waves in the world, but this new research shows that we are squandering some of our huge natural advantages."

Will Australia's renewable energy investment figures look more promising in 2015? Most Australians hope so. Clean energy is thought to be an instrumental component of an energy policy that decreases the cost of electricity for consumers and creates well-paying jobs for the populace.