2014 Clean Energy: The Year in Review

January 16, 2015 Written by  Comments Print
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Investment in clean energy saw a sharp increase in 2014, even in the face of dropping oil prices which had the potential to throw the industry off its game. Funds behind low-carbon energy technology like biofuels, wind, and solar power grew by 16% to $310 billion over the course of the year, marking the first real gains since 2011, despite reduced government subsidies. Clean energy investors saw marked growth in China, which increased it’s funding for renewable energy by 32% and pledged an astonishing $19.4 billion towards offshore wind-energy deals that had spent many years in development.

Offshore Wind

The news of this growth is incredibly welcome considering the fears that dropping oil prices would see significant stalling on the path to clean energy. Though seven offshore wind power projects received upwards of $1 billion each in funding this year, analysts generally agree that clean energy developers will have a tougher time finding money in 2015, due to the greater initial investment cost clean energy carries. Still, this past year saw wind power grow by 11% to an astounding $99.5 billion.

Solar Energy

The source for most of the growth the clean energy industry saw in 2014 was undoubtedly solar energy, which grew 25% to a total of $149.6 billon. This marks the highest share of the energy market that it’s ever held. This growth was largely prompted by Chinese investment in photovoltaic installations. There was also a rise in independent rooftop panel installers and companies that direct investment dividends to solar energy projects.

Global Investors

In terms of contributions to clean energy markets, no nation committed more dollars to projects than China, making it the #1 market for solar power in the world, as well as one of the top contenders for wind energy. The United States increased its investment in clean energy by 8% to $51.8 billion, more than it’s been since 2012. Despite its early lead at the start of the decade, Europe saw modest growth this year by 1% to $66 billion.

Overall, 2014 was a solid year for clean energy investment. While lower gas prices may make it easier for some of us to fall back on fossil fuels, we should take this growth as a sign that clean energy is a growing industry that’s worth getting involved in as quickly as possible.

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