The clean energy sector attracted $41.7 billion in new investment in the second quarter of 2011. Increased spending on solar thermal power plants and strong venture capital (VC) and private equity funding pushed investment 27% higher than the previous quarter, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).
BNEF data reveals fresh global capital investment in clean energy in Q2 was 22% higher than the corresponding 2010 quarter. This means April to June this year was the third strongest for investment so far, behind the final quarters of 2010 and 2007, BNEF said.
The analysis covers investment across asset financing in clean energy projects, public market investment in clean energy companies, and venture capital and private equity investment in private clean energy firms.
In contrast to the sluggish first quarter, Q2 was buoyed by several large investments in solar thermal plants, such as BrightSource’s 392MW Ivanpah project in California, Spain’s 100MW Termosol site and Eskom’s 100MW demonstration plant in South Africa’s Northern Cape region. Total solar thermal investment for the quarter was $2.2 billion.
Equity finance by VC and private equity funds jumped 74% quarter-on-quarter to $3.1 billion, the highest level since 2008, while asset finance in renewables leapt 30% to $35.3 billion.
US investment skyrockets amid incentives scramble, China still number one
Clean energy investment in the US almost trebled to $10.5 billion from $3.6 billion in Q1 and up 30% on Q2 2010. Investment was boosted by major projects such as Ivanpah and TerraGen Power’s Alta Wind Energy Center in California, and a rush to secure funding under the Treasury’s cash grants programme.
By region, China remained ahead of the US with $12 billion in investment, although this represented an 11% drop on Q1. Europe attracted $8.9 billion, a 14% rise on Q1 figures, while investment in India leapt 46% quarter-on-quarter to $2.5 billion.
Angus McCrone, chief editor at BNEF in London, said this year is likely to be another promising one for clean energy investment – both for new capital and wider funding, such as refinancing and M&A. However, 2011 will “need to be a strong performer” and see a ramp up in small-scale clean energy projects if it is to exceed the $243 billion in total investment last year, he said.
By. Charlotte Dudley
Source: Environmental Finance