“Global Trends in Sustainable Energy”

The new United Nations report on “Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment” paints a pretty optimistic picture of alternative energy growth, showing 2008 investments ($105B worldwide) almost equalling investments in conventional energy ($110B). Worldwide, wind projects dominated (48%), with approx 22% going to solar capacity and 15% to biofuels.

Half of the new investment total went into Europe, 30% into North America, 24% in Asia and Oceana, and 12% in South America.

Worldwide, alternative energy (excluding large hydro-electric projects) represents 6.2% of global power generating capacity, but only 4.4% of power production.

Brazilian biofuels, according to the report, did not fare so well ….

“The Brazilian market saw investment [in biofuels plants] more than double to $6.3 billion from $3.0 billion in 2007.

“However, the international financial crisis is taking a heavy
toll on Brazil’s ethanol and sugarcane industry. The cheap
and plentiful US dollar-denominated debt that fuelled
tremendous growth is now crippling many producers as
the value of the Brazilian real has tumbled against the dollar.
New Energy Finance research shows that investment in
ethanol producing assets fell by half in Q4 2008 and by an
even greater degree in the first quarter of 2009.”

Source: “Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2009” United Nations Environment Programme, 2009.

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