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Renewable energy investments up sharply

Washington: New investments in renewable energy and fuels reached USD 257 billion worldwide last year, with India logging the sharpest surge and China attracting the largest amount at USD 52.2 billion, says a report.

In 2010, the total global investment in the renewable power and fuel was USD 220 billion, according to the latest report of Worldwatch Institute.

"Investment in India grew 62 per cent – the highest growth rate for any single country over 2010 totals," the report said.

The total renewable energy investments in industrial countries in 2011 accounted for 65 per cent of global investment, increasing 21 per cent to USD 168 billion.

In contrast, the 35 per cent of global new investment that went to developing countries increased 10 per cent, to USD 89 billion, the report said. Of this sum, China, India, and Brazil accounted for USD 71 billion in total investment.

In 2011, "financial new investment" in renewable energy installations (a category that excludes small-scale projects and R&D) in industrial countries outpaced investments in the developing world, but in 2010 investments in this category in developing countries had surpassed those in industrial countries for the first time, it said.

Worldwatch said a major development in 2011 was the dominance of solar power in technology-specific investments – driven by a 50 per cent reduction in price over the year – with USD 147.4 billion invested in solar, compared with USD 83.8 billion for wind projects and USD 10.6 billion for biomass and waste-to-energy technology.

"Although this was not the first time solar surpassed wind in total investment, it was the first time that this involved such a wide margin," it said.

Biofuels, which as recently as 2006 held the second overall ranking in renewable energy technologies, attracted the fourth highest total investment in 2011 at USD 6.8 billion, followed by USD 5.8 billion for small hydro and USD 2.9 billion for geothermal installations. Marine energy technologies received only USD 200 million, as they have not yet been commercially deployed, the report said.

"China attracted USD 52.2 billion in new investments in 2011, the largest sum of any country. This accounted for nearly 60 per cent of the total new investments in developing countries and more than 20 per cent of the global total," it said.

"In terms of the pace of growth, however, the United States scored an impressive 57 per cent growth in investment over 2010 levels, outpacing all countries except India's 62 per cent. Overall, the United States ranks second in total national renewable energy investment at USD 50.8 billion, followed by Germany at USD 31 billion," the report said.

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