By Alex Morales
(c) 2010 Bloomberg News
Thursday, July 15, 2010; 12:00 AM
Clean energy accounted for 60 percent of new capacity in Europe, and
more than half of new power generation in the U.S., UNEP said today in
an e-mailed statement. Alternative power now accounts for about a
quarter of global generating capacity, or 1,230 gigawatts out of 4,800
gigawatts, the group said.
"It's not a marginal niche market anymore, and it's universally
relevant to developed and developing countries," UNEP Executive
Director Achim Steiner said today on a conference call. "The numbers
are quite remarkable."
Governments from China to the U.S. and Brazil to South Africa are
seeking to boost renewable power to lower their dependence on fossil
fuels and limit emissions of the greenhouse gases blamed for global
Globally, about 80 gigawatts of renewable power capacity was added
last year, almost half of it in China, UNEP said. That compares with
the 83 gigawatts of fossil fuel plants added.
Investment patterns in renewable energy are also changing, with Asia
overtaking the U.S. to move into second place last year, and now
threatening Europe's lead, Bloomberg New Energy Finance Chief
Executive Michael Liebreich said on the call.
"What we're seeing now in 2010 is that Asia is overtaking Europe to
take top place in clean energy investment," Liebreich said.
China in 2009 replaced the U.S. as the biggest investor in renewable
energy, pumping $34.5 billion into wind turbines, solar panels and
other low-carbon energy technologies, new energy finance said in
March. U.S. spending was just over half that, at $18.6 billion. The
U.K. ranked third.
More than 100 countries have now brought in policies to promote
renewable, UNEP said. The group's statement was based on twin reports
by UNEP and by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st
Century, or REN21.
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