Clean energy investments reach $333bn in 2017

18th January 2018


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Emilia Endsminger- Matchett

The total amount of investment in renewable energy and green technologies reached $333.5bn (£240bn) last year, up 3% on 2016 and just 7% short of the record set in 2015.

That is according to new figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), which show that the increase was largely a result of an explosion in photovoltaic (PV) installations in China.

The country accounted for more than half of the $160.8bn of investment made in solar energy last year, with typical utility-scale PV systems around 25% cheaper per megawatt in 2017 than in 2015.

“The cost of solar continues to fall in China, and more projects are being deployed on rooftops, in industrial parks or at other distributed locales,” BNEF head of Asia-Pacific, Justin Wu, said.

“These systems are not limited by government quotas, and large energy consumers in China are now installing solar panels to meet their own demand, with a minimal premium subsidy.”

Overall, Chinese investment in all clean energy technologies was $132.6bn last year, up 24% on 2016 and setting a new record, while the next biggest investor was the US which spent $56.9bn.

Large wind and solar project financing pushed Australia’s investment up 150% to a record $9bn and Mexico up 516% to $6.2bn, while Japan Germany and the UK experienced declines of 16%, 26% and 56% respectively.

Wind was the second-biggest sector for investment after solar, attracting $107.2bn, followed by energy-smart technologies which raised $48.8bn – the highest amount ever.

Preliminary estimates from BNEF suggest that a record 160GW of clean energy generating capacity was commissioned in 2017, with solar providing 98GW and wind 56GW.

It was also found that an increasing number of organisations are buying clean energy projects and companies, with acquisition activity reaching a record $127.9bn last year, up 4% on 2016.

“It is notable that acquisition activity in clean energy has been in excess of $100bn in each of the last three years,” BNEF analyst, Abraham Louw, said.

“The fact that generating assets, in particular, are in growing demand from buyers is a sign of a maturing sector.”

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