First time developing countries spend more than rich countries on renewables

By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor

Investment in green energy was higher for poorer countries rather than wealthy nations for the first ever time.

India, China and interestingly Mauritania are leading the record levels of investment. Developed nations are being left behind in the green race to sustainable energy. A reliance on fossil fuels could leave them lagging in terms of access to energy in years to come.

Overall £196.5bn was invested in renewables globally, according to the Renewables 2016 report by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (Ren21). Over £107bn of that figure took place in the developing world.

Christine Lins, REN21’s executive secretary said:

“What is truly remarkable about these results is that they were achieved at a time when fossil fuel prices were at historic lows, and renewables remained at a significant disadvantage in terms of government subsidies.

“For every dollar spent boosting renewables, nearly four dollars were spent to maintain our dependence on fossil fuels.”

Lins is sure that less developed countries want renewable power as it is simply cheaper than fossil fuels. She said: “Countries are opting for renewables because they are not only the most environmentally sound, but also the cheapest option. It’s a clear signal of its economic viability.”

Andrew Pendleton, a Friends of the Earth campaigner, said: “It should be a source of deep shame that Britain is being outspent by many other industrialised and developing nations in renewables when, as a windy island, we have a clear competitive advantage.

“It’s even more shameful that we’re being outspent by much poorer countries – Bangladesh is installing home solar while our Government slashes support to homeowners.

“Wind, solar and marine technologies will dominate energy markets. Whichever country emerges the most innovative and ambitious will doubtless be positioned for economic domination with all of the job creation that that implies.”

This news should be a wake up call to the Government who managed to cut subsidies for solar power, but seem intent on allowing fracking in the UK, which has already caused earth tremors in Britain, at some of our most scenic areas. A site in North Yorkshire has been given the go-ahead for fracking by the local council, despite a deluge of objections to the plans.

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