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Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2013: Key Findings

For the first time in several years, 2012 saw a decline, not a new record, for global investment in renewable energy. As last year’s Global Trends report warned, dollar investment worldwide was facing a down-draft from uncertainty over support policies in Europe and the US and – more positively – from sharp falls in technology costs.

The dollars spent on additional renewable power capacity including large hydro exceeded those spent on additional fossil-fuel generating capacity
worldwide, this time by more than $100 billion. However, there is far still to go to reduce the carbon intensity of the generation fleet. In 2012, just 6.5% of global electricity was produced using wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-power, geothermal, marine and small hydro technologies, up from 5.7% in 2011. Although the use of these sources meant that an estimated 900 megatonnes of CO2 were not produced, overall global energy- related emissions remained on a rising trend.

The most important change that took place in 2012 was an acceleration in the geographical shift of renewable energy investment. Back in 2007, developed economies invested two and a half times as much in renewables (excluding large hydro) than developing economies. In 2012, the gap was just 18%.