Crowdfunding could break stranglehold of the ‘big six’ energy firms
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
The world needs to find $1tn (£590.3bn) a year of clean energy investment if we are to have any chance of avoiding runaway climate change. Last year, just $254bn of finance was found globally – which is 12% less than 2012 and down a fifth on 2011’s record $318bn of investment. Europe in particular is seeing a fall-off in finance: in 2013, investment in clean energy slumped by 41% to $58bn.
The UK was one of the more positive areas of Europe last year, with investment falling just 8% from 2012’s record figure of $14.3bn. But then the UK is well behind most European countries when it comes torenewable energy. We derive just 4% of our energy from renewables, lagging behind Sweden (51%), Austria (32%), Denmark (26%), Italy (14%), France (13%) and Germany (12%). In fact, the only two nations we better are Luxembourg and Malta.
The UK needs to tap new sources of clean energy finance to move things forward at an accelerated rate. It can’t rely on the big six energy providers or mainstream banking establishment to drive change – they are far too wedded to their large fossil fuel assets. Pensions and investment funds will be increasingly important in the future, but in many countries a combination of community energy generation and crowdfunding has been a key additional part of the answer.