Developing Countries Are Investing in Renewable Energy at 2X the Rate of Industrialized Nations

A popular narrative among climate deniers and green energy pooh-poohers is that addressing greenhouse gas emissions and climate change by promoting clean energy sources is a burden on the world’s poorer countries and prevents their citizens from having access to affordable energy. A new reportClimatescope 2014: Mapping the Global Frontier for Clean Energy Investment, undermines that contention, showing that some of the world’s poorest countries are already renewable energy leaders.


According to the report, which evaluated the ability of 55 countries to attract investments in clean energy based on their current and future policies and financing, developing nations are kicking the asses of established economies when it comes to building green economies. It found that emerging markets saw a 143 percent growth in clean energy capacity, compared to 84 percent for wealthier, established economies.

“Clean energy is the low-cost option in a lot of these countries,” said Ethan Zindler, an analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, one of Climatescope’s developers, along with the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank Group and the U.K. Government Department for International Development. “The technologies are cost-competitive right now. Not in the future, but right now.”

rechart

“For years it has been widely accepted that only the world’s wealthiest nations have the means to enjoy the benefits of zero-carbon emitting sources of energy,” says the report’s summary. “Developing nations, it was assumed, could only afford fossil generation. This belief guided numerous investment decisions and policies. It has even shaped the dynamics of international climate talks. But green technologies have come a long way, and clean energy technologies are no longer out of reach for developing countries, which are home to some of the most extraordinary wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, large and small hydro and other natural resources.”

It goes on to say that reliance on diesel fuels has, in fact, meant that some of the world’s poorest nations have the most expensive electricity.

“In the least developed nations, where hundreds of millions of people have little or no access to electricity, cleaner energy as a distributed source of power is often the obvious choice over extending traditional hub-and-spoke transmission networks or local diesel generators,” it says. It points out that in some countries, like Jamaica, wind or solar power could be half the cost of fossil fuel-generated power.

This is the third year of the project, which previously looked exclusively at Latin America and the Caribbean. This year it also evaluated countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, taking a closer look at 10 Indian states and 15 Chinese provinces.

“Large-scale clean energy development makes basic economic sense in many Climatescope countries,” the report concludes.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close