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Investments in clean energy rise sharply; Asia set to overtake Europe

According to reports, investments in clean power projects in China, India, Japan and South Korea is poised to account for 40 per cent of global clean power investments by 2020, even as the Asia-Pacific region will emerge as the powerhouse spearheading this transition. India has come out with entirely new targets for renewable energy production and today holds the fifth position in global wind power capacity.

In his keynote address, Mr Michael Liebreich, CEO of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, pointed out that globally new investments into clean energy has grown almost five-fold from $50 billion in 2004 to $243 billion in 2010. Today, renewable energy accounts for 16 per cent of the global energy production and 19 per cent of global electricity generation. Asia will soon overtake Europe as the biggest investment destination in clean energy. Already, close to 50 per cent of power capacity addition in China is for renewable energy, he added.

China is one of the biggest producers and consumers of wind energy. Several global wind and solar energy producers have set up production units in China spurring its economic growth and accelerating its renewable energy consumption, Mr Gil-Hong Kim, Director, Sustainable Infrastructure Division of the Asian Development Bank, said. The ADB is now giving greater attention to renewable energy projects.

Mr Robert Gleitz, Vice-President-Marketing of Alstom Power, elaborated on some of the difficulties that big companies faced in producing and marketing both renewable and traditional energy in developing countries. Partnerships are the way forward he said, as technology transfer comes with intellectual property threats in some of the accelerating economies of Asia. The company was pursuing the path of partnership in both extending the technology and containing the threat of intellectual piracy.

While conceding that renewable energy was gaining greater importance, Alstom Power was also extending better technology to contain the emissions from traditional energy sources. Renewable energy sources are often suitable for areas with low density and diffused population. There is no single solution to meet the requirements of a transition to clean energy, reducing oil dependence, strengthening energy security, tackling global warming while addressing air pollution, Mr Edwin Khew, Chairman, Sustainable Energy Associations of Singapore, said. The answer, he said, lies in a portfolio of diverse energy technologies that share a common thread: they do not deplete our natural resources or destroy our environment.

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