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The global drop in clean energy investment

The drop in clean energy investment has been felt worldwide 16000646 800516594 0 0 14091162 300

Though people all over the world are embracing clean technology, such as solar energy and hydropower, as a reaction to climate change and high electricity prices, actual financial investment in clean technologies has dropped in the last quarter.

Investment is a fifth down on the same quarter of 2012, according to a statement from Bloomberg New Energy Finance released on October 14. Part of this can be attributed to faltering political will to reduce global reliance on low carbon technologies.

The facts and figures

This year in the third quarter, global investment in clean energy totalled $45.9 billion. That's down 14 per cent on the second quarter of 2013, and 20 per cent below the same quarter last year.

Because of this, 2013's levels of investment will likely finish below last year's $281 billion - a figure that was 11 per cent down from 2011's levels. That means a significant reduction in investments for solar power, smart grid, electric vehicles and more.

While investment dropped particularly in China, Europe and the US, Canada, Chile and Uruguay reported more solid results.

“The latest setback reflects policy uncertainty in Europe, the lure of cheap gas in the US, a levelling-off in wind and solar investment in China, and a general weakening of political will in major economies. Governments accept that the world has a major problem with climate change but, for the moment, appear too engrossed in short-term domestic issues to take the decisive action needed," said  Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

"After the slightly more promising second quarter, we now have a very disappointing third quarter figure for investment. $45.9bn is still a substantial amount of money, greater than that invested in the whole of 2004, but the loss of momentum since 2011 is worrying."

However, the silver lining to the situation is that the global installation of solar photovoltaic power capacity is nearing a record this year, at around 36.7 GW.

The financing of the 182MW solar PV plant, the AGL Nyngan and Broken Hill Portfolio for $406.4 million, was noted as a particular success.

Despite lower investment, clean energy shares have been performing well around the world, showing enthusiasm is still high.

As demonstrated by the sheer amount of solar photovoltaic rooftop systems in Australia - over one million - this small-scale form of clean energy is still doing well. The cost of photovoltaic panels has dropped dramatically, so they are more accessible for households.

Posted by Charlie Moore