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Pew: Clean Power Industry Worth Trillions by 2020

Looking into the next decade for clean energy deployment gives perspective on where an industry is headed and if Pew Charitable Trusts' recently released report on global clean power is correct, the clean energy industry is looking at incredible growth.

The report, Global Clean Power: A $2.3 Trillion Opportunity, released last week examined projected private investment in wind, solar, biomass/energy from waste, small hydro, geothermal and marine energy projects. Data for the report was compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Three scenarios were used to determine how much private investment each technology would garner:

  • Business-as-usual (BAU): no change from current policies;
  • Copenhagen: policies to implement the pledges made at the 2009 international climate negotiations in Copenhagen and;
  • Enhanced clean energy: maximized policies designed to stimulate increased investment and capacity additions.

The overall takeaway from the report is that in any case, the global clean power sector will grow, at a huge rate, in any case.  Pew found that in the G-20, total attracted clean power project investment is projected to be:

  • BAU: $1.7 trillion by 2020
  • Copenhagen: $1.8 trillion by 2020
  • Enhanced clean energy: $2.3 trillion by 2020

Asia became the top regional destination for clean power finance this year – with China and India leading the way due to strong clean energy policies, said Pew. By 2020, China, India, Japan and South Korea could account for approximately 40 percent of global clean power project investments.

"Strong and consistent policies in Asia have helped double private investment over the past two years. Asia is now the leading region for clean energy investment, and its lead is set to extend in the near future unless Europe and the U.S. make a step change in their support for the sector," said Michael Liebreich, CEO of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Under all three scenarios, China maintains its global leadership position and has the potential to attract cumulative clean energy asset investments of $620 billion over the next decade. Due to its clean energy policies, India moves up to third place by 2020 under all scenarios after being ranked 10th in 2009. India could realize a 763 percent increase in investment under the enhanced scenario, the largest of all G-20 members.

Europe, an early leader in the global clean energy economy thanks to strong clean energy policies and targets could see investments in clean energy projects total $705 billion over the next decade under the Enhanced clean energy scenario. The United Kingdom and Germany, traditional clean energy powers in Europe, rank in the top five globally of attracted clean power project investments under all three scenarios.

The report found that the United States is among those countries with the most to gain from passing strong clean energy policies. For example, the U.S. has the potential to attract $342 billion in clean power project investments over the next 10 years under the Enhanced clean energy scenario, an increase of $97 billion over the BAU scenario. 

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