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US clean energy investment strong in Q2

Solar thermal projects in the US have attracted billions of dollars in the second quarter of 2011.

By Renewable Energy Focus Staff

Financial new investment in clean energy jumped to US$41.7 billion in Q2 2011. This was 27% above the Q1 figure and 22% higher than the equivalent for Q2 2010, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

A number of large solar thermal electricity projects were undertaken in the quarter, including BrightSource's $2.2b 392 MW Ivanpah solar thermal project, the 100 MW FPL Termosol site in Spain and Eskom's 100 MW Upington project in South Africa.

Investment in the US grew 195% in Q2 to $10.5b, the third-highest quarterly figure ever for that country. Bloomberg says this was due to an increase in the asset finance of wind and solar projects such as Alta and Ivanpah, both of which are in California.

However, clean energy shares did not fare so well between April and June. The WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index (NEX), which tracks 98 clean energy shares worldwide, fell 13% in Q2 2011 after a strong first quarter.

Michael Liebreich, Chief Executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, says: "There continues to be an intriguing contrast between investment in clean energy, which is running very strongly in almost every part of the world, and sector share prices, which have been under-performing.

"The explanation is partly to do with ongoing investor worries - perhaps overdone - about future policy support, and partly to do with the fact that this is a highly competitive sector, in which costs are falling and high manufacturer margins are hard to sustain."

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