Australia Has Slipped Below Algeria, Myanmar In Renewable Energy Investment

Bloomberg New Energy Finance announced trends in renewable energy investments around the world. China emerged as the leading investor in renewable energy project, which is hardly a news anymore. The big news is actually the massive fall in renewable energy investments in Australia.

australia wind farm


Such was the slump in clean energy investment in Australia that the country slipped from the world’s 11th largest investor in renewable energy projects to 31st in 2014. During the first three quarters of 2014, Australia invested just $238 million in setting up large-scale renewable energy projects.

Several countries, including Algeria, Myanmar, Thailand and Uruguay, have made more investments in renewable energy projects than Australia has this year. The overall investment has also increased after two years of declining trend. During the first three quarters this year, about $175 billion have been invested in renewable energy projects, 16% more than the investment made during the corresponding period last year.

China invested a record $12.2 billion in the third quarter itself, up 52% compared to the investment in the second quarter this year. Other countries with noticeable increase in investments are Japan, Canada, France and India.

The significant slump in Australia’s investment is due to the lack of a market-linked carbon emissions reduction policy. The carbon tax regime implemented by the Labour Party government was cut short by a year with a plan to replace it with an emissions trading scheme that would eventually be linked with the European Union’s emissions trading scheme. The emissions trading scheme was never launched, as the Labour government was ousted by the Liberal Party.

The Liberal Party has a largely non-functional emissions reduction policy that lacks transparency. To add to that, it is considering either weakening the Renewable Energy Target, or doing away with it entirely. The country’s poor standing in renewable energy investment is, thus, not at all surprising.

But the Liberal government is running out of justifications and reasons to avoid implementing a sound emissions reduction policy. Australia has among the highest per capita emissions in the world. It is has adopted a target to reduce emissions by only 5% by 2020 from 2000 levels. China, South Korea, and several other developing countries are set to implement emissions trading schemes on a national scale. These policies and schemes will lead to significant increase in renewable energy infrastructure. Australia will feel increasing pressure to act on low-carbon initiatives.

Mridul Chadha

Mridul currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.

Mridul Chadha has 425 posts and counting. See all posts by Mridul Chadha

11 thoughts on “Australia Has Slipped Below Algeria, Myanmar In Renewable Energy Investment

  • It may be reasonable for BNEF to leave out small distributed solar as it’s hard for them to get data quickly (USA) or at all (Africa). It’s still a significant omission, as distributed solar has a high growth rate. We should mentally add 20% to these totals until we get better estimates.

    • Distributed PV is part of the reason so many policy makers are caught flat footed on solar. They listen to groups that find it to hard to count correctly, so leave it out all together. Thus missing a large impact, Oz’s “drop” in electric use, is all the behind the meter PV.

      • Ha, this is hilarious: “They listen to groups that find it to hard to count correctly.”

        So true. And they’re not the only ones doing that.

  • Tony Abbot is to Australia’s coal what Stephen Harper, lying fascist dictatorial traitor, is to Canada’s Tar Sands, sugar daddy’s. And idiots both!

    • Don’t hold back!

    • I can’t disagree with you. In the case of Australia, though, we had a country propelling itself into the clean energy future fast, and then bam, brakes on! Offers an especially crazy story.

      • Just shows what powers corporations wield in the realm of politics. About time they were told to stay the hell out!

        • Pragmatically, it just means that the large corporations earnings will be crushed by the evolving energy procurement practices of individual property owners. What an inversion!

          The corporations have decided to cut themselves out of the future of energy. Amazing to see this play out as distributed renewable prices drop year over year.

          • Ultimately, one hopes so. Realistically as the PTB they will twist things to their advantage!

          • Is Tony Abbott out – ✔

            Is Stephen Harper out – ✔

            Are more corporations spending on renewable for fear of a backlash – ✔

            Is David Cameron’s Govt. now at risk – ✔

  • Thanks, Tony Abbott. 🙁

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