ABU DHABI Jan 17 Financing for renewable energy
is increasingly moving away from European investors towards
national banks in emerging markets, including Islamic finance,
the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said on
The financial crisis of recent years has eroded domination
by European banks and utilities, IRENA's Deputy Director-General
Frank Wouters said at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu
"Europe has so far dominated renewable finance, but its
utilities have had to tighten their books and banks have had to
scale down their assets due to increased regulation, but the tab
is increasingly being picked up by national banks from emerging
markets, and especially Islamic finance," he told Reuters.
Wouters said that preliminary numbers showed that global
investment into renewable energy was around $250 billion in
2012, down around 10 percent on the previous year.
"Islamic finance is still far from filling the gap left by
the Europeans, but it's already a multi-billion dollar
business," Wouters said.
"The Islamic Development Bank alone has over 2 billion
dollars invested in renewables, and that's just one bank.
Islamic finance is asset based and much less speculative than
western models, so renewables and Islamic finance are a good
match," he added.
Islamic finance adheres to religious principles such as bans
on interest payments and pure monetary speculation.
Wouters also said that he believed the Middle East was on
the verge of a large-scale investment boom into renewables.
"They are using diesel fuel to generate electricity instead
of selling it on the global market at over $100 (per barrel).
That makes no sense, and they know it, so I think we will see a
big boom in Middle Eastern renewable investment very soon."
(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by David Cowell)