For the first time ever, global investors put more money into alternative energy forms than fossil fuels last year. Global investors funneled $250 billion into creating new power capacity. Of that total, green power sources such as wind and solar received about $140 billion, 56 percent of all investments made.
At $51.8 billion, wind received the most investments–but investments in that energy source have grown by only 1 percent since 2007. Solar investments were the next highest at $33.5 billion. Although geothermal energy received only $2.2 billion, this energy source experienced the most dramatic growth with investments increasing 149 percent since 2007.
China spurred much of the growth, especially in wind power. Australia, Japan and Kenya increased their spending on geothermal energy, and Brazil, Chile, Peru and the Philippines are also set to introduce – or have already introduced – laws that will support clean energy.
Despite the investments, alternative energy still accounts for only 6.2 percent of total generating capacity and 41 percent of new total added capacity. Overall investment in green power sources grew very little over the last few years, and in the United States investments actually dropped 8 percent, probably as a result of the economic crisis. In fact, the biggest green power investors in 2008 were developing countries, which increased their alternative energy investments by 27 percent and now represent one third of global investments.
Although the recession may have deterred some from investing in green power, using alternative energy forms doesn’t have to mean personal financial sacrifice. With the new tax credits and rebates under the 2009 stimulus package, you could even save money by investing in green power.