How much investment is made in clean energy?

Investment in clean energy is important not only for the health of the environment, but also economies across the globe. Pressure is mounting on nations to prove their environmental credentials and this seems to be taking effect as many of them have increased investment in sustainable technologies.

This has the potential not only to drive down electricity prices, but also ensure the security of energy supplies well into the future.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) explained how for the past two years there had been a decline in spending in this clean energy, although this was rectified during the third quarter of 2014.

Investment in clean energy across the world was 16 per cent higher than the same period of last year, giving the group hope that recent declines might now be reversed.

Which countries are leading the charge?

Some nations have increased their investment in clean energy more than others and BNEF suggests China is currently leading the way.

The country has made significant investment in solar technologies over recent months, with several large-scale solar projects being hooked up to the main transmission grid.

BNEF estimates that solar power installations in China alone will reach as high as 14 gigawatts this year, which would equate to around a third of the global total.

Japan also proved its worth in the clean energy stakes, as investment increased 17 per cent compared to the third quarter of last year.

Meanwhile, Canada, India and France were also world leaders in terms of the level of investment during the third quarter of 2014.

Where does clean energy investment need to be increased?

There are some regions where more effort needs to be made to invest in clean energy, BNEF identified, with Europe emerging as one of them.

Europe saw its clean energy commitments decline over the third quarter of the year, making it the lowest figure recorded in more than eight years.

The situation wasn't much better in the US, where its investment was down on levels seen in the second quarter.

Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board at BNEF, said while the figures are encouraging, there is still plenty of work to be done.

"There is no room for complacency because clean energy investment of between $200 billion and $300 billion a year is not large enough to herald the rapid transformation of the power system that experts say is required if the world is to see a peak in CO2 emissions around 2020," he commented.

What about Australia?

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) recently revealed how the country currently has sufficient energy generation to ensure its system remains reliable.

It's the first time in the history of the National Electricity Market (NEM) that no new generation is needed over the next 10 years, which is mainly the result of declining consumption.

This might give Australia more of an incentive to look at alternative methods of electricity generation - such as clean technologies - as the NEM appears to be operating as it should.

The country is ideally placed to make the most of solar power and with several large-scale projects already underway, this could become an even more crucial part of Australia's energy mix.

ARENA suggests the country has the highest average solar radiation per square metre than any other continent, making it the prime candidate for clean energy projects.

Figures from the group predict the use of solar energy will increase by an average of 5.9 per cent a year until 2029-30, although it acknowledged that government policies will play an important role in this.

Posted by Liam Tunney