Boom To Bust: Europe’s Renewables Industry Falls Into Rapid Decline

  • Date: 23/03/16
  • Fiona Harvey, The Guardian

Europe’s once world-beating clean technology industry has fallen into a rapid decline, with investment in low-carbon energy last year plummeting to its lowest level in a decade.

The plunge in European fortunes comes as renewable energy is burgeoning around the world, with China in particular investing heavily.

As recently as 2010, Europe made up 45% of global clean energy investment, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), which examines the sector. But after peaking at $132bn in 2011, investment in the EU plunged by more than half, to 18% of the global total, or $58bn, in 2015.

Michael Liebreich, chairman of the BNEF board, said the global financial crisis and its aftermath were to blame only in part. “Europe’s failure to respond [to the crisis was a factor and] global investors, scared about the survival of the euro, had plenty of reason to hesitate about putting money into euro-dominated clean energy projects,” he said.

But he also pointed to mistakes made by policymakers in member states, which he said had created a “boom-bust” cycle by initially showing strong support for renewables then rapidly rowing back as they feared the expense of successful subsidies. […]

Prospects for the struggling EU clean energy industry look poor overall, said analysts. The best hope of a revival is likely to be a return of political commitment to the sector, but that looks unlikely in the short term, even in the wake of the landmark climate change agreement signed in Paris last December.

Full story

Benny Peiser (2013): Europe Pulls The Plug On Its Green Future



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