February 23, 2011 / 6:07 PM / 6 years ago

Global clean energy investments to rise in 2011 - UN

* Clean energy investment to reach $240 bln in 2011

* Seven African governments to receive EU, UN grant

NAIROBI, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Brazil, China and India are expected to fuel global investments in clean energy in 2011 that are expected to reach $240 billion, the head of a United Nation's green economy initiative said on Wednesday.

The U.N.'s environmental unit (UNEP) said investment in renewable energy hit $180-$200 billion in 2010 up from $162 billion in 2009, driven by the three countries.

The increased investments are because sustainable energy is gaining momentum as governments seek cheaper sources -- such as solar, wind and ethanol -- to cushion against rising oil prices.

"Investment may be close to $240 billion in clean energy that includes energy efficiency and renewable energy," said Pavan Sukhdev, head of UNEP's Green Economy initiative.

The United Nations says greening energy supplies needs over $360 billion annually.

Adverse effects of climate change have forced countries to look for ways of cutting gas emissions and encouraging eco-friendly systems, Sukhdev told Reuters.

He said the United Nations had a European Union grant to help seven African countries including Kenya, South Africa, and Burkina Faso to formulate policies that would enable the transition to a green economy. (Reporting by Beatrice Gachenge)

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