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Clean energy investment rises 24%, spurred by China surg

Investment in clean energy rose 24 percent to $56.9 billion in the second quarter compared with the first, led by a surge in expenditure in China, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.

Spending in China jumped 92 percent in the period to $18.3 billion as several large solar photovoltaic parks and wind farms secured hundreds of millions of dollars in financing, New Energy Finance said today in an e-mailed statement.

China is deemed the most attractive market for renewable energy projects by the consultant Ernst & Young and led the world in wind turbine installations last year, placing third behind Germany and Italy for solar photovoltaic projects. On July 2, it quadrupled its goals for solar plans by 2015.

“These figures underline the pivotal role China is playing in the clean energy sector,” New Energy Finance Chief Executive Officer Michael Liebreich said in the statement. “Its torrent of supply-side investment was one of the main reasons why renewable energy costs have been plummeting; we are now seeing China creating enough demand to start mopping up some of the resulting over-capacity.”

While investment rose in the quarter, renewable energy companies have struggled, with the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index falling 15 percent to 115.25 in the second quarter. Shares in Vestas Wind Systems the biggest wind turbine maker, on July 9 touched a 13-year low on a report in the Jyllands-Posten newspaper that it may need to sell new shares to raise capital for a restructuring program.

Seeking protection

Centrotherm Photovoltaics yesterday said in a statement that it was seeking bankruptcy protection, becoming at least the 14th US or European company to founder in an oversupplied market for solar panels.

The quarterly renewable investment figure is higher than the first three months of the year, while still falling 18 percent from the same period a year ago, the report said. the figures include spending on small-scale projects for the first time, with year-ago data adjusted to account for the change,

Spending in Europe gained 11 percent to $20 billion in the quarter, and in the US, expenditure rose 18 percent to $10.2 billion. Global spending on solar power increased 19 percent to $33.6 billion, and wind expenditure jumped 47 percent to $21.6 billion.

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