Global investment in clean energy this year is on track to be significantly lower than it was in 2012, according to new figures.

Data reveals that total worldwide investment was $45.9bn in the third quarter of this year, down 14 per cent on the second quarter of the year and 20 per cent below the number for the third quarter of 2012.Drop in clean energy investment

If this trend carries on then the end-of-year investment total in smart grid, renewables, energy storage and electric vehicles will fall short of last year’s $281bn.

The report, compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in the third quarter of this year there was “weakness almost across the board, with investment in China, the US and Europe all down on the equivalent period of 2012”.

It states that the only region to show a rise in activity on both the quarter and the year was the Americas outside the US and Brazil, due to “firm figures” from Canada, Chile and Uruguay.

Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said: “After the slightly more promising second quarter, we now have a very disappointing third quarter figure for investment.

He said that while $45.9bn was “still a substantial amount of money”, the “loss of momentum is worrying”.

“The latest setback reflects policy uncertainty in Europe, the lure of cheap gas in the US, a levelling-off in wind and solar investment in China, and a general weakening of political will in major economies.

“Governments accept that the world has a major problem with climate change but, for the moment, appear too engrossed in short-term domestic issues to take the decisive action needed.”

Overall clean energy investment declines were most noticeable in major countries, said Bloomberg.

The US saw its total fall to $5.5bn in Q3 from $9.4bn in Q2, China was down at $13bn from $13.8bn, India was at $1.2bn from $1.5bn, and Japan $7.3bn from $7.4bn. Brazil showed a modest rise, from $950m to $1.1bn.

In Europe, German investment was $1.6bn, down from $1.7bn in Q2 and far below the quarterly figures seen in recent years; France saw a fall from $1.2bn in Q2 to $727m in Q3; Italy a modest rebound to $1.3bn from $1.2bn, and the UK “a somewhat bigger rally” from $1.6bn to $2.6bn.