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Global spending on clean energy technologies and infrastructure expected to be twice that of money spent on other energies: 'Setting new records even in challenging economic conditions'

"More must be done to ensure that investment reaches the places where it is needed most."

"More must be done to ensure that investment reaches the places where it is needed most."

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Follow the money. Taking this familiar advice leads to signs of hope — and ongoing challenges — for efforts to clean up global energy supplies and the air we breathe.

On June 6, the International Energy Agency released its World Energy Investment 2024 report, forecasting that worldwide spending on clean energy tech and infrastructure this year will nearly double the investment expected for dirty energy sources.

The report detailed that investments will hit $2 trillion for renewable energy technology, electric vehicles, nuclear power, electrical grids, energy storage systems, low-emission fuels, heat pumps, and efficiency improvements.

With total energy investments worldwide projected to exceed $3 trillion for the first time, the IEA says that only slightly over a third of that will go to oil, gas, and coal. Just last year, investments in renewable energy and grids overtook spending on the fuels that cause health problems and contribute most of the heat-trapping gases that are warming the planet. 

The costs of financing energy projects are rising, the report noted. Yet clean energy investments have become more enticing because of improved supply chains and lower costs for tech such as solar panels.

"Clean energy investment is setting new records even in challenging economic conditions, highlighting the momentum behind the new global energy economy," IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a statement.

The report cautioned that clean tech investment is not equal worldwide. China has by far the largest share of global investment, followed by Europe and then the United States. In part because financing costs trend higher in emerging and developing economies, investment is "far below what is required to meet growing energy demand in many of these countries." 

"More must be done to ensure that investment reaches the places where it is needed most, in particular the developing economies where access to affordable, sustainable, and secure energy is severely lacking today," Birol noted.

Overall, though, investments in clean energy benefit people by further reducing already low prices for electricity from renewable sources. Plus, the more that clean tech generates electricity, the less that dirty fuels will, and the less planet-heating pollution there will be. As the IEA reported earlier in 2024, our capacity to produce electricity from renewables is already reaching historic highs. Additional investment can only build on this.

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