Given the rush to complete a number of big investment transactions in the closing weeks of 2010 – in some cases to “catch” attractive subsidy deals before they expired – it was little surprise that activity in the first quarter of 2011 was relatively subdued. Financial new investment in renewable energyRenewable energy is power generated from infinite sources, such as wind or solar power. Conventional energy is generated from finite sources, such as natural gas or fossil oil. totaled $31 billion, down from $44 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010 and below the $32 billion figure for the first quarter of 2010.

In asset finance, the biggest reductions in terms of absolute dollars came in U.S. wind powerWind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form, such as electricity, using wind turbines. By 2010, a single wind turbine can produce several MW of electric power. and European solar powerPhotovoltaics (PV) is the field of technology and research related to the application of solar cells for energy by converting sunlight directly into electricity. Solar power is sometimes used as a synonym to refer to electricity generated from solar radiation.. The brightest spots of January–March 2011 were windWind occurs due to different temperature levels in the atmosphere (troposphere) which are heated up by the sun. A typical example are the trade winds at the equator where the sun is most powerful. power in China, up 25% relative to the same quarter in 2010, and in Brazil, which saw investment double from a year earlier.

Key wind power projects going ahead included the 211 MW IMPSA Ceara wind auction portfolio and the 195 MW Renova Bahia portfolio, both in Brazil, and the 200 MW Hebei Weichang Yudaokou village wind farmA group of wind turbines interconnected to a common power provider system through a system of transformers, distribution lines, and (usually) one substation. Operation, control, and maintenance functions are often centralized through a network of computerized monitoring systems, supplemented by ... in China. In Europe, there were several large offshore wind infrastructure commitments, including the Dan Tysk project off the coast of Germany, the Skagerrak 4 project off Denmark, and the Randstad project off the Netherlands.
In public market investment, transactions included a $1.4 billion share sale by Sinovel Wind and a $220 million offering by solar manufacturer Shandong Jinjing Science & Technology – both in China. In venture capital and private equityEquity is the concept or idea of fairness in economics, particularly as to taxation or welfare economics. investment, the largest transaction of the first quarter of 2011 was a $143 million expansion capital round for U.S. biomassEnergy resources derived from organic matter. These include wood, agricultural waste and other living-cell material that can be burned to produce heat energy. They also include algae, sewage and other organic substances that may be used to make energy through chemical processes.Biomass, a ... and wasteWaste consists of unwanted and thrown away goods that often still have value as fuel or raw material.-to-energy specialist Plasma Energy.

March 2011 brought a series of tragic events with potentially far-reaching consequences for energy, including renewable energy. The Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and the ensuing crisis at the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi, cast into doubt the future of nuclear power in Japan and also in other countries such as Germany. Initially, the result was a sharp rise in the share prices of renewable energy companies. But natural gas-fired generation, rather than renewable power, could prove to be the primary, short-term beneficiary of nuclear energy’s problems.
Source:  REN21.2011.Renewables Global Status Report (Paris: REN21 Secretariat)