Climate Action

Clean energy investment reaches $138 billion in 2018

Investment in clean technologies is closely tracking last year and has already hit $138.2 billion, according to new analysis.

  • 10 July 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

Investment in clean technologies is closely tracking last year and has already hit $138.2 billion, according to new analysis.

This is just 1 percent lower than the same six month period in 2017, but the direction of investment is changing.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)’s analysis, taken from a database of over 100,000 project records around the world, shows that wind power saw a marked increase. Energy smart technologies, such as battery storage rose to $5.2 billion.

While solar investment was down 19 percent on last year, in part thanks to lower capital costs, wind power was up 33 percent. These trends are also set to continue, according to the researchers, due to policy changes in China, the world’s largest renewable energy market.

Justin Wu, head of Asia-Pacific at BNEF, explained: “On June 1, the Chinese government released a policy document restricting new solar installations that require a national subsidy, with immediate effect. We expect this to lead to sharp drop in installations in China this year, compared to 2017’s spectacular record of 53GW (gigawatts).”

A decline in new solar capacity will do nothing to the cost of the technology, which will, in fact, fall to an average of 24.4 cents per watt, driven by an oversupply in solar manufacturing.

Last year, global investment hit $333 billion across renewable and energy smart technologies, with China leading this huge growth. It’s unclear whether a strong second half will ensure this figure is matched. Analysts now expect solar installations to fall for the first time ever, a revision on earlier forecasts which showed a more bullish picture.

In other key markets such as the US and Europe, investment remained high. Spending on wind projects in the US were a full 121 percent higher in the opening six months of 2018 than on last year and with more to come.

“We see US wind investment increasing in 2018-2019 as developers rush to finish projects in time to qualify for federal tax credits,” said Amy Grace, BNEF head of North American research.