Global fossil investment crashed in 2015, renewables boomed, and Canadian clean energy investment fell 46%, from US$7.4 to $4 billion, Clean Energy Canada reported this morning in A Year For The Record Books: Tracking The Energy Revolution (Global 2016 Edition).
“Clean Energy Canada’s latest global analysis found that a record $367-billion (U.S.) was invested in renewable power in 2015—a third of a trillion dollars. That’s serious money, nearly 50% more than was invested in power from fossil fuels,” writes CEC Executive Director in this morning’s release, just days before a much-anticipated First Ministers’ climate meeting and the GLOBE environmental business conference convene in Vancouver.
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“What’s driving this trend?” Smith asks. “There’s money to be made and money to be saved. For commercial electricity consumers, sourcing renewable power can lock in future savings from technologies whose fuel—wind, sun, water, biomass, and the earth’s heat—is free. For renewable power developers, declining technology and financing costs mean the profits are getting fatter.”
The report tracks cost reductions of 61% for wind energy in the United States, 82% for grid-scale solar electricity, between 2009 and 2015. And it notes that in 2015, for the first time, developing countries outstripped developed in their clean energy investments.
“The biggest players globally continue to be China, the United States, and Japan, which collectively account for well over half of global investment,” she writes. “India regained fifth spot for investment in 2015 (behind the UK), and appears poised to rise in the ranks as a clean-energy investment destination.”
Smith describes Canada’s clean energy performance in 2015 as “unsettling, and markedly out of step with other countries,” pointing to a patchwork of provincial renewable power policies and a federal policy environment where, “until recently, pipelines trumped power lines as a national priority.”
But “Canada has tremendous renewable energy resources, and we have fostered renewable power developers, clean energy technology, and service providers to capitalize on those resources. The challenge now is to translate that domestic success into global success, without overlooking the emerging opportunities at home. And the clock is ticking.”
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