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Investment in Clean Energy Rising; Coal and Tar Sands Economics Increasingly Dubious

2 min. read

Earlier this week, we highlighted a recent study by leading financial advisory and asset management firm Lazard which showed how cheap clean energy has gotten.  We also noted the International Energy Agency  (IEA) forecast that "solar energy could be the largest source of electricity by mid-century," as the "rapid cost decrease of photovoltaic modules and systems in the last few years has opened new perspectives for using solar energy as a major source of electricity in the coming years and decades." Now, Bloomberg has more good news, fully consistent with the Lazard and IEA analyses.

About $175 billion was spent globally on renewable energy projects during the first three quarters, up 16 percent from the same period last year, with Chinese solar investment at a record, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report.

Spending in the third quarter gained 12 percent to $55 billion from $48.9 billion a year earlier, the London-based research company said today in statement. Almost $20 billion of that was in China, where solar investing soared to $12.2 billion from $7.5 billion.

The world’s largest solar market may add 14 gigawatts of capacity this year, almost a third of the global total, as more large-scale projects are built, BNEF said. Japan, the second-biggest solar market, increased spending 17 percent to $8.6 billion in the third quarter.

We should also add that in the United States, wind power has tripled and solar has increased tenfold (!) just since 2008. In short, clean energy is on a roll. In stark contrast, see the headine at DeSmogBlog, "Tide Turning Against Global Coal Industry: New Report;" and the Bloomberg story, "Alpha Sees as Few as 2 Large U.S. Coal Miners After Slump." And finally, check out "The Tar Sands Bubble," which demolishes the shaky economics of tar sands oil. In sum: renewable energy is ramping up, with the wind (pun intended) at its back; fossil fuels are entering their inexorable decline. Which side would you rather be on at this point?