Global investment in clean energy fell to $56.6 billion (€43.9 billion) in the third quarter of 2012, down 20% year-on-year and signalling that 2012 will see the first annual decline in eight years, according to a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
“Today's figures … suggest that the full-year 2012 figure for investment in clean energy is likely to fall short of last year's record $280 billion. If so, 2012 would be the first down-year for world investment in the sector for at least eight years,” a Bloomberg statement said.
Overall, investment plunged 5% on the second-quarter figures, the report said.
World leaders have insisted that the green economy could help drag their countries out of recession but these figures suggest businesses are beginning to slow their investments in clean technology.
Policy uncertainty about the support for new renewable power generation hit investment in key markets in the US, the UK and Italy, the report said.
This was exacerbated by the effect of low sector share prices on investment, and sharp falls in the costs of wind and solar photovoltaic technologies.
Investment in Europe dropped 29% year-on-year to $18.2 billion, while investment in the U.S. plummeted 62% year-on-year and at $7.3 billion was down 28% on the second quarter of 2012.
China saw a 6% increase in investment year-on-year, at $14.8 billion, but the figure for July to September was down 17%.
Brazil, however, bucked the trend and saw a 24% year-on-year increase and a 94% quarterly increase to $1.9 billion, the report said.
“The location of some of the biggest projects financed in Q3 this year highlight the geographical shift that is taking place in clean energy, with established markets such as the US, Europe and China losing momentum while newer markets in South America, Asia and Africa pick up steam,” said Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Two of the three largest renewable projects given the go-ahead during the July to September period were located in Morocco while the third was located in Brazil, the report said.