A record US$243 billion was invested globally in clean energy in 2010.
Image source: CSIRO National Solar Energy Centre in Newcastle
Across the world we are changing the way our electricity is generated and delivered. The question is no longer whether we continue relying on emission-intensive 20th-century technology to keep the lights on. It is how fast we move to embrace clean energy such as solar, wind, hydro, bioenergy, marine and geothermal.
Globally clean energy continues to set record levels for investment. Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that a record US$243 billion was invested in 2010, well ahead of traditional energy and up more than 30 per cent on the year before. In Australia more than $5.2 billion was invested in renewable energy during the 2010–11 financial year, including approximately $4 billion on household solar power alone. This is more than 60 per cent higher than during 2009–10.
In the year to October 2011, just under 10 per cent of Australia’s electricity came from renewable energy. This represents a large rise on previous years due to a resurgent hydro sector and more power generated by the country’s wind farms.
Though we still have a long way to go, the introduction of a carbon price in mid-2012 and the associated government support for clean energy will provide the policy framework to attract both domestic and international investors to all forms of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
In time these initiatives will fundamentally change the nature of our electricity grid, unlocking billions of dollars in investment and providing employment for tens of thousands of Australians in the clean energy sector.
We have taken the first steps. Australia’s national Renewable Energy Target will deliver 20% of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020.