Renewable Energy Projects seem to have survived the first cycle of the world economic recession. In fact, late 2008 and all of 2009 seemed better than many economists had recently expected. After a slowdown in world investment activity at the end of 2008, sustainable energy projects enjoyed a rebound during the final three quarters of 2010.
The result was total new investment in worldwide Renewable Energy Projects reached about $162 billion in 2009, down slightly from the revised target of $173 billion for 2008. This was still the second highest annual figure ever recorded and nearly four times the total investment level of 2004. This performance demonstrated that Renewable Energy Projects were certainly not a typical bubble created by the so-called "credit boom", but was rather an investment story that will continue to be important for years to come.
While many policy-makers have increased their focus on encouraging the growth of Renewable Energy Projects, (partly to stimulate job creation and and offset the forces of recession) projects received new support. From the financial crisis of autumn 2008 until the spring of 2010, the world's chief economies set aside about $188 billion of “green stimulus” programs for Renewable Energy Projects. And since that time, the money has started to be spent. The United States recently announced a large grant scheme to assist the financing of renewable energy projects, and other countries followed the example of Germany, Spain and other European countries by commencing feed-in tariff programs to encourage and stimulate investment in Renewable Energy Projects..
The major development banks, led by Germany’s KfW and the European Investment Bank, also became important actors in helping Renewable Energy Projects to weather the storm and expand into new markets. However, Renewable Energy Projects have often to cope with a bumpy path.
The story of 2009, however, was one of resilience for Renewable Energy Projects. While there were areas of weakness such as project development in the US and finance for biofuel plants, there was also a decisive shift in the balance of investment towards developing countries and particularly China. Renewable Energy Projects in China was the strongest feature of the year by far, although there were other areas of strength in the world in 2009 such as offshore wind investment in the North Sea and the financing of power storage and electric vehicle technology companies. There was also a marked improvement in the cost competitiveness of renewable power generation compared to fossil-fuel electricity generation.
New investment in Renewable Energy Projects in 2009 was $162 billion, down from a revised $173 billion in 2008. The 7% fall reflected the impact of the recession on investment in Europe and North America in particular, with renewable energy projects and companies finding it harder to access finance: