A total of $1 trillion has been invested in renewable energy, energy efficiency and smart energy technologies since 2004, according to figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).
According to BNEF, 2004 was an important year in the clean energy sector, as it was the year oil prices began to rise from $20 to $30 per barrel to the current range around $100. It was also the year in which Germany introduced its feed-in-tariff rules, which have been widely copied around the world.
Annual clean energy investment has risen nearly five-fold, from $52 billion in 2004 to $243 billion last year, representing a compound annual growth rate of 29%, BNEF notes, adding that it expects the figures for 2011 to once again be in record territory, driven by funding for U.S. solar thermal projects, some large European offshore wind financings, continued high levels of activity in China and Germany, and the flowering of national renewable energy programs in India.
As capital costs for wind, solar, geothermal, marine, hydro and bioenergy continue to fall, and as smart energy technologies remake the world's grids, clean energy investment flows are expected to maintain their long-term rise, supported by a network of policies and initiatives around the world, BNEF adds.