Quest for renewable energy is new ‘green gold rush’: UNEP

NAIROBI, July 02, 2008 (AFP) – A green “gold rush” is underway, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said as it announced a 60 percent rise in new investment entering the sustainable energy sector in 2007. More than 148 billion dollars (93 billion euros) of new funds were ploughed into the quest for cleaner energy last year.

The current demand for solar, wind and biofuel energy is powered by prevailing climate change worries, support from world governments and rising crude oil prices, UNEP said.

“Just as thousands were drawn to California and the Klondike in the late 1800s, the green energy gold rush is attracting legions of modern-day prospectors in all parts of the globe,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said in a statement.

“What is unfolding is nothing less than a fundamental transformation of the world?s energy infrastructure.”

The rise in investment comes despite a credit crunch hitting financial markets, according to UNEP’s Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2008 report, released here on Tuesday.

Wind energy attracted the highest investment, raking in 50.2 billion dollars. By March 2008, the globally-installed wind capacity had surpassed 100 gigabites.