Global investment in renewables and energy efficiency increased 5% to $260 billion in 2011, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (see Bloomberg: Clean-Energy Investment Rises to $260B). This is still not enough, but at least investment is increasing despite the economic situation.
Over half – $136.6 billion – went into solar, mainly in the US, China and Europe. Wind got $74.9 billion, while energy efficiency got only $19 billion. Solar is not a bad technology and has a clear role to play in parts of the US, China and Europe. However, a significant proportion of investment in solar PV is not cost-effective. Wind power – particularly offshore – would produce much more electricity for the same amount of money. And the continuing oversight of energy efficiency investments should alarm all those who care about the climate – and also those who are desperate to find ways to improve economic performance. Energy inefficiency is a literal waste of money.