June 24, 2014

An Unexpected Country Invests the Most in Renewable Energy

Official statistics show that China is the country that invests by far the most money in renewable energy. But the picture is completely different when measured by GNP. Then the leader is Uruguay followed by Mauritius, Costa Rica, South Africa and Nicaragua.

That’s the conclusion of fresh statistics presented to the 2014 World Bioenergy conference at Elmia in Jönköping, Sweden in June. Attendees received the information before it was officially presented at a press conference in New York. The annual study is produced by the network Ren 21, Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century.

Fossil fuels are still the dominant energy source at 77.6 percent of the total. But renewables are gaining ground strongly. By far the biggest investment focus is solar- and wind-powered electricity, which in 2013 supplied 319 and 318 GWh respectively.

“For the first time solar surpassed wind,” said Martin Hullin, who presented the statistics.

Bioenergy is increasing strongly, although from a lower level, and in 2013 supplied 88 GWh of energy to an ever-more energy-hungry world.

“But the biofuel statistics are not reliable,” said Bharadway Kummamuru of the World Bioenergy Association. “It is a complex energy system with a large proportion of local production.”

The statistics also show that investments in renewable energy fell during 2013. This is a reminder that the industry does not like uncertainty and reacts to changed conditions. But there is also another explanation, which in fact shows that growth remains unabated.

“For example, the cost of solar panels has gone down, which could be the reason for the decrease in investment,” Martin Hullin.

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