Clean energy investment in the United Kingdom grew by 13 percent to $12.4 billion, in 2013, according to research released today by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
The U.K. wind sector, which increased by nearly 50 percent to $5.9 billion on the strength of offshore projects and expanded activity in public market financing, drove the increase.
The report, "Who's Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2013," found that the United Kingdom's growth was in sharp contrast to clean energy finance in the European region-made up of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa-which slid sharply for the second consecutive year. It fell 42 percent to $55 billion, less than half the region's 2011 record of $115 billion. Investment plunged in once-vibrant markets, with levels down 55 percent in Germany and 75 percent in Italy.
"The United Kingdom's clean energy and climate policy has been in flux in recent years," said Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew's clean energy program. "However, its abundant offshore wind resources and ongoing commitment to develop the sector helped bolster clean energy investment, enabling the United Kingdom to jump from seventh to fourth among G-20 countries. The U.K. was one of only three G-20 countries-with Canada and Japan-to record investment growth."
Almost 2 gigawatts of wind generating capacity was deployed in the United Kingdom in 2013, including completion of several large offshore projects. In addition, 1.2 GW of solar power was installed, with $2.7 billion invested in the sector. A comprehensive Energy Act was adopted late in 2013. Implementation will begin in 2014, including a system of "Contracts for Difference," which established guaranteed prices for renewable energy suppliers.
Asia-Oceania remained the leading regional and global market based largely on the strength of clean energy investment in China and Japan. China led the G-20, attracting $54.2 billion, with the U.S. in second place at $36.7 billion; Japan was third with $28.6 billion. Globally, clean energy investment fell 11 percent, to $254 billion, and renewable power generating capacity additions declined by 1 percent in 2013. Overall, installed clean energy capacity reached 735 GW.
"Who's Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2013" examines how nations are faring in the increasingly stiff competition for private funding among the world's leading economies. The primary focus is on investment, which drives innovation, commercialization, manufacturing, and installation of clean energy technologies. Investment in G-20 countries accounted for more than 95 percent of the global total. The data were compiled and reviewed by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Pew's clean energy research partner.
Press Release, April 03, 2014; Image: THE PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS/Bloomberg New Energy Finance