Tough economy curbs clean energy investment: experts

Jan 17, 2012 by Ali Khalil
Sheep graze under wind turbines at Te Apiti wind farm in Manawatu Gorge, 10 kilometres from the city of Palmerston North, 2011. Experts warned that a global economic slowdown and the eurozone debt crisis have curbed government investment in renewable energy.

A global economic slowdown and the eurozone debt crisis have curbed government investment in renewable energy, experts warned Tuesday.

"There are already some signs that government support may be slowing down in Europe," chief economist at the , Fatih Birol, warned participants in the World Future in Abu Dhabi.

Birol named Germany and Spain as countries that have where support for renewables has apparently declined.

He said that although the renewable energy sector was continuing to grow, its expansion was "far slower" than it should be to meet demand.

"The energy sector needs long-term planning," he said, arguing that "it would be a pity" if governments fail to fully support the development of renewables.

The IEA, which promotes stable energy supply among its 28 developed nation members, in November issued a report saying that if governments implemented promised policy changes, the proportion of energy generated from renewable sources would increase from 13 percent to 18 percent by 2035.

The percentage of primary energy generated from fossil fuels worldwide would also fall to 75 percent from the current 81 percent level, it said.

Jacob Wallenberg, chairman of Sweden's Investor AB, also lamented the economic slowdown's impact on renewable .

"Economic difficulties have contributed to diverting investments away from renewables," he told the summit.

The European Union is battling a two-year-old that has prompted Standard and Poor's to cut the credit ratings of nine eurozone economies and the EU's bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).

But other experts and officials argued that developing countries have boosted in renewables as more advanced economies have cut back.

"We talk about a slowdown in the renewable energy sector, but that is mainly in the OECD (Organisation for and Development) countries," said Mohamed El-Ashry, Chairman of REN21 policy-network organisation.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, addressing the WFES on Monday, boasted that his energy-hungry nation has "become the world's fastest-growing region in wind and solar power."

China also ranks first in global hydropower generation, Wen said.

Adnan Amin, the head of Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), said that despite declines in public investment, private investment was still fueling the renewable sector.

"Despite a , investment in has grown worldwide," he said, adding that 90 percent of current investment is coming from private sources.

"What is needed is an enabling framework and that is the role of governments," Amin said.

More than 26,000 people are attending the four-day WEFS conference and exhibition which displays top clean energy technologies, according to organisers.

Explore further: Going nuts? Turkey looks to pistachios to heat new eco-city

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

IEA calls for scrapping $312 bln in fuel subsidies

Apr 06, 2011

The International Energy Agency is calling for 312 billion dollars in fuel subsidies to be scrapped in a bid to promote clean energy sources, according to a report presented in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

REN21 renewable energy report shows healthy growth

Jul 28, 2011

An annual report published by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) shows that despite a troublesome worldwide economy over the past year, international investment in renewable energy sources continues ...

IEA backs renewable energy

Nov 23, 2011

Renewable energy resources are growing very fast but countries still must be vigilant to ensure that they continue to expand, the International Energy Agency said Wednesday.

Climate change panel: renewable energy to be key

May 05, 2011

(AP) -- The world's top scientific body concluded that renewable energy in the coming decades will be widespread and could one day represent the dominant source for powering factories and lighting homes, ...

Recommended for you

Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US

Apr 17, 2014

The White House Thursday announced a series of measures aimed at increasing solar energy production in the United States, particularly by encouraging the installation of solar panels in public spaces.

Tailored approach key to cookstove uptake

Apr 17, 2014

Worldwide, programs aiming to give safe, efficient cooking stoves to people in developing countries haven't had complete success—and local research has looked into why.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jan 17, 2012
This is always the case. We, as in humanity, need to work through it. A spike in primary energy (oil) produces distortions in all other energy commodities, as well as others.
All energy will spike with oil, but those which have fewer interconnects with oil will eventually slump more.
We need to keep funding alternative energy until this cannot happen again.
In the meantime, entities with large natural gas supplies must provide impetus to their use on a local an state level. Colorado, for instance, has large supplies of natural gas. That state must support infrastructure which rewards the use of natural gas and penalizes the use of coal for electrical energy. As it does this, it will also push forward the move toward alternatives.
There are numerous other examples.
not rated yet Jan 17, 2012
A global slowdown? Try again. The western world has slowed down and Europe may be in for more, but the world is demanding more energy from all sources.
The west has best concentrate on energy it can produce locally, such as natural gas... (no, coal is too filthy) even to the extent of rewarding those who can provide it on a national level. Infrastucture is NG's greatest obstacle, yet it is piped into many US homes right now. Expand that network.
1 / 5 (13) Jan 17, 2012
Too bad environmentalists embraced socialism.

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

( —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...