As clean energy investment drops again, how can Labour reverse the slide if elected?

Clean energy investment had dropped to its lowest level since 2009 - how can Labour lead the world in reversing this slide.


Last night it was revealed clean energy investment had dropped to its lowest level since 2009, showing once more the climate change failures of global governments (including our own) – and further highlighting the need for Labour to have a radical vision for a green economy post-2015.

Business Green yesterday reported:

This year’s downwards trend in global clean energy investment continued into the third quarter as project finance, venture capital, private equity, and public market activity all fell to their lowest quarterly levels since the beginning of 2009.

That was the stark conclusion of the latest quarterly report by analyst firm Clean Energy Pipeline, which warned that an ongoing crisis of confidence in the financial markets, policy uncertainty, and subsidy cuts were undermining green investments.

According to the report, project finance dropped 28 per cent from the previous quarter to just over $27bn, representing a 52 per cent slide from the $56.7bn invested in the same period last year. The US was particularly badly hit, with its wind energy sector recording a massive 62 per cent drop quarter-on-quarter due mainly to the impending expiration of the industry’s Production Tax Credit (PTC)…

Douglas Lloyd, chief executive of Clean Energy Pipeline, said overall investment activity was “disappointing but not unexpected”.

“It’s a brutal environment to raise capital when you factor in major policy uncertainty and low natural gas prices in the US, feed-in tariff cuts in Europe and an overall crisis of confidence in the global financial markets,” he added.

“A 30 per cent drop in project finance in Asia last quarter, which had been propping up global investment volumes in recent quarters, didn’t help.”

The subject of the energy-industrial revolution and how the UK can lead the world in low-carbon was the topic of Left Foot Forward’s fringe event at Labour Party conference in Manchester this week – specifically the flaws of the present “greenest government ever” coalition and the policy challenges and possible solutions of a future Labour government.

Shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint said the idea of choosing between being green and growth was a false trade-off, and said DECC’s role should not be about picking winners but picking sectors, while Friends of the Earth’s head of campaigns Andrew Pendelton said Labour should put green growth at the heart of its manifesto in every policy area.

He said:

“There are two things we need Labour to do; the energy bill will be a tough fight, we need to champion this idea of the green recovery – it must be green. As Labour become serious challengers, investors will want to listen more (to 2015); in policy terms the green recovery is right as well as being the right thing to do…

“Some of the private lobbying needs to come into the public domain; Osborne is picking gas – but we need to minimise this to meet carbon budgets, we need to make sure people hear that and understand that – this is a huge opportunity for Labour.

“Green needs to be at the heart of Labour’s election strategy.”

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