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Clean energy investment rises 22% led by US, China

Clean-energy investment rose 22 percent in the second quarter from the prior three months as increased spending in the U.S., China and South Africa countered a slump in Europe.

The $53.1 billion invested in the industry was still less than the $63.1 billion spent in the same period a year earlier as Europe’s spending fell to the lowest in more than six years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Investment in the region shrank 44 percent from the first quarter to $9.5 billion.

Europe’s clean-energy industry is retrenching after nations from Germany to Spain, which helped propel record growth in previous years, curbed subsidies. In the U.S., the industry benefited from a surge in fundraising for companies such as the electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc. 

“These figures are a mixture of sweet and sour,” Michael Liebreich, chief executive officer of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in a statement. “On the sour side, 2013 globally is still running below 2012, which was itself down on the 2011 investment record.”

The “sweet” spot was the U.S., where investment in renewables and so-called energy-smart technologies jumped 155 percent to $9.5 billion. It was helped by the extension of a tax credit that included wind power and a rally in clean-energy share prices including Tesla, which said May 17 it planned to sell as much as $1.08 billion in stock and debt.

Public investment

The Tesla offering and a $1.4 billion initial public offering by New Zealand-based geothermal developer Mighty River Power Ltd. boosted public-market investment in clean-energy companies to $3.8 billion in the second quarter, up from $1.4 billion in the previous three months, the highest quarterly figure in two years.

Investment in China rose 63 percent to $13.8 billion while spending in South Africa increased from almost nothing in the first quarter to $2.8 billion in the second.

Asset finance of utility-scale projects such as wind and solar parks climbed 39 percent from the first quarter to $31.9 billion. That’s a 21 percent decline from the same period a year before. Venture capital and private-equity investment in clean energy fell 48 percent to $1.3 billion.

In Europe, Germany led with $1.9 billion, a drop from $6.3 billion in the first quarter. The U.K. fell to $1.7 billion from $2.8 billion.

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