Developing Economies Take Lead in Clean Energy Investments

Developing nations eclipsed the world’s wealthiest countries in 2014, attracting more clean energy investment and building more wind, solar, and other renewable power generation than ever before, according to a global assessment released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance today.

Climatescope, the clean energy country competitiveness index, interactive report, and online tool supported by the UK government, US government, and the Inter-American Development Bank Group, looks into clean energy activity in 55 emerging markets in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. The group includes major developing nations China, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, as well as dozens of others.

The report has shown that, for the first time ever, over half of all new annual investment into clean energy power generating projects globally went toward projects in emerging markets, rather than toward wealthier countries.

New investment in renewables soared in 2014 in the 55 Climatescope countries assessed to hit a record annual high of USD 126 billion – up USD 35.5bn, or 39%, from 2013 levels.

The results were bolstered by the growth in China, which added 35GW of new renewable power generating capacity all on its own – more than the 2014 clean energy build in the US, UK, and France combined.

A total of 50.4 GW of new clean capacity was built in Climatescope countries, marking a 21% uptick from the prior year. In another first, renewables capacity deployed in emerging markets topped that in wealthier Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations. On a percentage basis, clean energy capacity is growing twice as quickly in Climatescope nations compared to OECD ones.

Progress in 2014 was achieved despite a number of countries in the survey seeing economic growth rates slow. Average gross domestic product growth across Climatescope nations slipped to 5.7% in 2014 from 6.4% in 2013, with the slow-down most apparent in major nations, Brazil, South Africa, and China. Despite the pullback, these three countries attracted a total of USD 103 billion in new clean energy investment in 2014.

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