Clean energy is in and fossil fuels are out, according to the patterns that are showing up within investors’ inflows and in related exchange traded funds (ETFs).

Around $250 billion was spent for new power capacity in 2008 and for the first time, the majority of the money went toward clean energy, a report by the United Nations Environment Program has found. According to James Katner for The New York Times, renewable sources accounted for 56% of investment dollars globally, worth $140 billion, while investment in fossil fuel technologies was $110 billion.

Much of the fossil fuel spending centered on new coal plants in China. Large hydropower projects, wind, solar and geothermal were covered by the report. Power plants generally have along life span, so it will be some time until renewable energy dominates the power grid. Right now, renewable energy accounts for about 6.2% of the total power sector capacity in 2008, which means there’s a lot of room left for growth.

The largest stimulus to green energy could be an agreement among nations at a meeting in Copenhagen in Denmark in December, aimed at creating a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol.

  • PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy (PBW): up 19.3% year-to-date

  • PowerShares Global Clean Energy (PBD): up 21.6% year-to-date

  • First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy (QCLN): up 24.2% year-to-date
    • iShares S&P Global Clean Energy Index (ICLN): up 11.6% year-to-date

    The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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