At least one sector of the economy hasn’t been affected by the recession.According to the London-based research company Bloomberg New Energy Finance, investment in clean energy reached record levels in 2010.
The firm reported new investment in clean energy amounted to $243 billion last year. That’s a 30 percent increase from the $186.5 billion invested in 2009, making the 2010 figure the largest to date. Investment in clean energy has been on a steady rise for several years. Last year’s figure is more than double the $113 billion invested in 2006 and nearly five times the $52 billion from 2004.
The rapid growth in investment has been spread across many sectors, led by China, European offshore wind, European rooftop solar, and research and development.
Investment in new energy in China outpaced that of any other country, increasing by 30 percent in 2010 to $51.1 billion. Offshore wind finance also had a good year in 2010. The most notable investments were nearly $2 billion going to the development of an offshore wind park in Belgium and $1 billion for a park in Germany.
Growth in clean-energy investment was also driven by small-scale, distributed generation projects, which surged by 91 percent to $59.6 billion in 2010. Some of that activity occurred in the United States, but Germany led the way. Not surprisingly, investment in solar power around the globe grew by a whopping 49 percent last year to $89.3 billion.
Spending on research and development of clean-energy technologies also grew to a record $35.5 billion in 2010. Government investment led the charge with $21 billion, up from $15.8 billion in 2009. Corporate investment bounced back from the recession, climbing from $12.8 billion in 2009 to $14.4 billion in 2010.