Clean Energy Needs $515B Annually by 2030: Davos Investor Report

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davos-logoGlobal investment in clean energy must reach $515 billion per year by 2030 — triple that of last year’s investment — in order to avoid “the catastrophic impact of climate change,” according to a report from the World Economic Forum and New Energy Finance. Released this morning in Davos, the 56-page document, “Green Investing: Towards a Clean Energy Infrastructure,” is the first such report to come out of a climate change project mandated by investors at last year’s meeting.

davos-reportThe report identifies eight emerging clean energy sectors with large-scale generating capacity expected to figure prominently in the world’s energy system by 2050, even if fossil fuels continue to power a substantial portion of the grid: onshore and offshore wind, solar thermal and photovoltaics, municipal solar waste-to-energy, sugar-based ethanol, cellulosic and next-generation biofuels, and geothermal power. Wind represents the most mature clean energy technology, while solar has the fastest growth.

The authors — Max von Bismarck and Anuradha Gurung of the World Economic Forum, and Chris Greenwood and Michael Liebreich of New Energy Finance — also note that investing in energy efficiency could produce returns in the range of 17 percent or more. Efficiency, plus carbon capture and storage, smart grids and energy storage technology represent four key enablers for the transition to a clean energy system.


In 2008, private investors poured a record-breaking $155 billion into clean technology. Over the next 18 months, President Barack Obama wants to inject $54 billion into renewable energy as part of a larger economic stimulus plan — but that’s a onetime investment. Without question, reaching the Davos investment target will be no easy task. While the report authors argue that every stimulus package should push the cleantech ball forward (with support for educating a new generation of engineers and rolling out a fully digital power grid, for example), they see a necessary partnership between the private and public sectors:

Policy-makers need to build frameworks which enable corporations and investors to make good returns by squeezing carbon out of the world’s economy. And investors need to understand the scale and nature of the investment opportunity presented by the world’s one-time shift to low-carbon energy.

Echoing the calls of former Vice President Al Gore yesterday and UN climate chief Yvo de Boer at last year’s climate talks in Poznan, Poland, the report authors urge immediate action:

At the very time when commentators are branding green investing as a luxury the world cannot afford, enormous investment in the world’s energy infrastructure is required in order to address the twin threats of energy insecurity and climate change. Waiting for economic recovery, rather than taking decisive action now, will make the future challenge far greater. As the cost of clean energy technologies decreases and policy support is put in place, the shape of the eventual energy system is emerging. But the investment demand is substantial. Despite the recent turmoil, the world’s financial markets are up to the financing challenge, but they will need continued action from the world’s policy-makers and leading corporations.

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Brian J. Donovan

Louisiana Enacts the Most Comprehensive Advanced Biofuel Legislation in the Nation

Governor Bobby Jindal has signed into law the Advanced Biofuel Industry Development Initiative, the most comprehensive and far-reaching state legislation in the nation enacted to develop a statewide advanced biofuel industry. Louisiana is the first state to enact alternative transportation fuel legislation that includes a variable blending pump pilot program and a hydrous ethanol pilot program.

The legislature found that the proper development of an advanced biofuel industry in Louisiana requires implementation of the comprehensive “field-to-pump” strategy developed by Renergie, Inc.:

(1) Feedstock other than corn;
(2) Decentralized network of small advanced biofuel manufacturing facilities;
(3) Variable blending pumps in lieu of splash blending; and
(4) Hydrous ethanol.

Renergie looks forward to working closely with the Obama-Biden administration to:
(a) reduce U.S. dependency on imported oil;
(b) repeal the ethanol import tariff;
(c) maximize the environmental benefits of ethanol-blended transportation fuels; and
(d) create jobs in rural areas of the United States by growing ethanol demand, specifically hydrous ethanol demand, beyond the 10% blend market.

Please feel free to visit Renergie’s weblog ( for more information.

— Brian J. Donovan

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