While Europe has lead the world in clean energy investments during the past decade, its reign may be over as Asian powerhouses such as China and Japan look to take the lead.
Data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance show that the Asia and Oceania region invested over $100 billion in clean energy in 2012 compared to Europe’s investment of only $75.8 billion in the same year. The US still lags behind, having only invested $40.3 billion in 2012.
Interestingly, Asia and Oceania have been on a consistently fast growth pace since 2004, investing more than ten times as much this past year as they did eight years ago. Europe saw a similarly expeditious growth in clean energy investments up until 2011, so it remains to be seen whether or not Asia and Oceania can sustain their investments in clean energy in the future.
Although the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has historically invested the least in clean energy, this year it surpassed Central and South America, putting $11.8 billion towards renewables.
Of course, these comparisons do not account for GDP or population size, and it would be more interesting to see how these regions stack up against one another when actual electricity demand is taken into account, yet MENA’s surge is promising, especially given increasing oil prices and new clean energy projects such as Saudi Arabia’s plans to develop a $109 billion solar industry.
At the very least, these figures signal that global investment in clean energy will continue to increase in the future, and it’s not improbable that the world leader for clean energy investment may change regions yet again as competition in this surging market heats up.