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Surprising Science

Renewable Energy: The New Gold Rush

Investments in renewable energy have been booming, but the government subsidies that have made renewable energy an attractive investment are bankrupting national budgets. 

What’s the Latest Development?

A report just released by the United Nations says investment in renewable energy rose by a third last year to a record-level of $211 billion worldwide. China alone has invested $48 billion in renewable energy, becoming the world’s leading investor. For the first time, developing countries are spending more on renewables than their wealthier counterparts. In Europe, a range of subsidies are encouraging individuals to install renewable energy technology in their homes and businesses. Technology has progressed rapidly, causing some problems. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Government subsidies of renewable energy are creating a new gold rush, says Ritesh Pothan, Managing Director of a Mumbai-based renewable energy advisory organisation. The levels of support some governments have promised to people who use renewable energy didn’t account for the rapid development of technology, which has driven down the price of hardware. Now, governments are paying out far more than they ever anticipated as lush subsidy packages and cheap technology attract a huge numbers of investors. 


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