Annual investments of $515 billion between now and 2030 will be required to effect a world transition to clean energy, according to a report released by the World Economic Forum during its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
The report says alternative energy technologies can address two serious world problems – energy security and climate change – but can also be a source of good financial returns.
The report urges governments to make clean-technology incentives and investments part of their economic stimulus projects.
"It is essential that this stimulus also build our capacity to solve the longer-term climate crisis. Well-meaning but short-sighted economic stimulus programs could lock us into a predominately fossil fuel-based world economy for decades," says the report.
The report advocates initiatives like retrofitting government buildings for increased energy efficiency, saying they can create jobs and lay the foundation for economic growth.
It also focuses on eight “large-scale, clean-energy sectors” that governments should promote including onshore wind; offshore wind; solar-photovoltaic energy; solar-thermal electricity generation; municipal solar energy; waste-to-energy generation; sugar-based ethanol, cellulosic and next-generation biofuels; and geothermal power.
The World Economic Forum would also like to see public-private investment mechanisms to redirect world capital flows into low-carbon and energy efficiency technologies, and the deployment of clean and affordable technologies to the poor “to help them leap-frog onto a low-carbon development trajectory.”