Global Investor

China goes Green

Maulik Tewari | Updated on November 22, 2014

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Outspends others in renewable energy



China surpassed more advanced economies to emerge as the leading investor in renewable energy in 2013, shows a report by REN21, a global renewable energy policy network. China was the largest investor in hydropower, solar photovoltaic, wind power and solar water heating capacities, according to the report.

Altogether, it invested $54.2 billion (excluding R&D) in the renewable energy sector. The biggest investments in solar thermal power and bio-diesel and ethanol production were, however, made by the US, which spent a total of $33.9 billion on green energy in 2013.

China, which spent over $20 billion on domestic hydropower infrastructure in 2013, has also invested in overseas projects in Africa and South East Asia. It now accounts for 26 per cent of global hydro capacity. Clearly, India − with a share of just 4.4 per cent − has a lot of catching up to do.

China led the pack in wind power generation too, reporting a 40 per cent growth in generation last year. Germany, which has made higher investments in the past, was a distant second. Investor uncertainty ahead of the September 2013 elections in Germany and a shortage of good quality, unexploited wind sites on land were mainly responsible for this. India installed over 1.7 GW of capacity to emerge as the fourth-largest wind power investor last year on the back of the reintroduction of generation-based incentives by the Government. With respect to solar power, China added a massive 13 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity, a third of global additions.

The three state-owned utilities in China are the world’s largest solar asset holders.

Published on July 13, 2014

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