Emerging markets leapfrogging rich countries to solar

Exhibition Center in Dezhou, China

❝We all know the story of how mobile phones took off in emerging markets. Suddenly small cocoa farmers in Africa who never had a landline or a computer were checking commodity prices on their smartphones.

Today something similarly profound is starting to happen with renewable energy.

❝For the first time, more than half the world’s annual investment in clean energy is coming from emerging markets instead of from wealthier nations, according to a new analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The handoff occurred last year, and it’s just the beginning…

❝Last year, emerging markets invested a record $126 billion in clean energy, up 39 percent from the prior year, according to BNEF’s new report, called Climatescope. China dominated, adding 35 gigawatts of clean energy, or more than the U.S., U.K., and France combined. India may soon be a contender, with a plan announced this year to add 175 gigawatts by 2022…

❝The report, released today, ranks 55 emerging markets for their ability to attract capital for low-carbon energy projects. The top-scoring markets were China, Brazil, Chile, South Africa, and India.

❝Most emerging markets are rich in resources for wind, solar, and hydro power. Wind and solar are already competitive in price with grid electricity in some countries, and battery prices for large-scale electricity storage continue to fall…

❝But for populations still relying on expensive kerosine generators or who have no electricity at all, and for those living in the dangerous smog of thickly populated cities, this energy leap can’t come soon enough.

The stereotypical whining from developed nations over the course of growth in emerging nations and 3rd World countries would be boring if it wasn’t so often cloaked in colonialist smirks.  After all, most modern industrial nations – even when they weren’t directly stealing commodities – still profited from imperial theft.  Yet, they condemn nations with a young modern economy for skipping steps in environmental protection when they can’t afford to match growth with Green.

Fortunately, a principle side effect of the few progressive governments in the Industrial West who support replacing crap carbon-heavy energy with alternative means – is the economies of scale and competitive development of technology.  Which many of these emerging nations can now afford.

Sometimes, at a pace faster than the dominant [and domineering] Old Guard.

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