Economics today -sorry! But it is quite interesting to see that a combination of factors have put fresh wind into the fortunes of companies involved in renewable energy. The Wilder Hill New Global Innovation Index has reported a rise of 39% in a basket of shares spanning global wind, solar, fuel cell and biomass renewable energy sectors – comfortably ahead of the the UK FTSE’s 17% gain. This is good news and is on top of an estimated $25.9 billion worth of investments into renewables in the second quarter of 2009 in the clean energy sector.
Why has this happended? Well, large scale renewable energy projects require massive capital investment and at a very basic level, the simple fact that banks have started lending again has opened up credit lines and capital markets and this has allowed companies to begin to develop projects again. Alongside this has been substantial injections of public finance from governments around the world – both the US and UK have announced ‘green’ investments as have France, Spain and Japan amongst many others. Added to this is the threat of carbon reduction targets post the forthcoming Copenhagen summit and the need to create ‘green jobs’ and one can see an immediate economic attraction in green energy. Finally, the cost of fossil fuels, particularly oil, is on the rise again from a low of $30 a barrel in the middle of the global credit crunch to something like $70 a barrel now – again making energy from clean and renewable sources far more attractive – both from an economic viewpoint and from the viewpoint of our badly deteriorating environment.
See: the Times October 3rd 2009 p63