The good news: renewable energy investments are projected to double over the next eight years and reach $395 billion per year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That’s up from $195 billion in 2010.
The not-so-good news: That still may not be enough to stabilize emissions and control climate change, according to the International Energy Agency.
In 2009, the IEA issued a report concluding that global investments in renewables and efficiency needed to reach roughly $37 trillion by 2030 in order to prevent the worst-case global warming scenario. Even with the strong increases in private and public financing across a range of clean energy technologies, we’re still not at the levels IEA says we need to be.
If the BNEF numbers are accurate, we’ll only be at $7 trillion in total investments. By 2030, Bloomberg researchers project that global investments in renewable energy could reach $460 billion per year. But these figures don’t count efficiency and smarter grids — two sectors that could have a dramatic impact on our ability to use less energy.
But we can be hopeful that, despite the growing number of nonsensical claims that renewable energy is a “fad,” the industry is still moving ahead.
Guy Turner, director of commodity market research at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said: “These results indicate that last year’s record renewable energy investment was no one-off despite the recent economic gloom. Big winners over the next 20 years will be the emerging renewable energy hubs in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.”
In energy generation, the fastest-growing sectors will be wind (both onshore and offshore) and solar over the next two decades. And by 2020, roughly 50% of all investment will come from outside Europe and North America, according to BNEF.