Then in 2011, the increase in investment continued to grow, bolting to $260 billion as Pete Danko noted here in a story about the recent Bloomberg news that – at least in 2011 – the U.S. actually outspent China in renewable investment, with $55.9 billion to China’s $47.4 billion, in the last of the Recovery Act spending; a one time push for clean energy that rivaled the Manhattan Project.
And the EU, with even more stable climate policy, was responsible for almost half the new global clean energy push with $100.2 billion. That is good news because the EU share will likely continue to grow, as its climate legislation creates a persistent long term mandate to increase renewables under the Kyoto Accord.
And the IEA, and Bloomberg’s figures, do not include hydro power. If we add in the $45 billion spent on large hydro in 2010, and the $10 billion on small hydro, even the first year is almost halfway to the $500 billion goal, and the second year totals $315 billion, more than halfway.
Here is why a hydro count is important. Currently, Africa produces the least hydropower, only 3 percent of the world total, but is considered the region with the greatest potential for increased production.
And in the Durban climate negotiations, the EU changed its rules regarding which countries qualify for future Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) funds. Starting in 2012, only the poorest countries, mostly in Africa, will qualify for future CDM funds. The EU CDM funding propelled renewable power development in the less developed countries to higher levels than in the OECD nations. (See: Big Clean Energy Projects Seek Big EU Funding).
So with global annual investment going up every year since we got the target needed from the IEA, it looks as if we are not that far off track to do the job.
To get more than halfway to the $500 billion investment target within just the first two years of really trying, even with a global economic downtown that echoed the Great Depression, is evidence that we could get there. The scale-up needed is not something that is completely out of reach.
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