Global investment in renewable energy and energy-smart technologies reached $70 billion in the third quarter, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
According to new figures published Wednesday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), worldwide investment in renewable energy and energy-smart technologies totaled $70 billion in the third quarter of 2015, sitting just 1% below the same quarter a year earlier. Total asset finance of utility-scale renewable energy projects was down 4% on a year earlier, dropping to $47.3 billion, though small-scale projects (including rooftop solar) saw a 21% increase, to grow to $19 billion.
The report highlighted CSP solar projects in China (the 200 MW, $866 million Qinghai solar thermal plant), Israel, and South Africa (the 100 MW, $749 million SolarReserve Redstone solar thermal complex), as well as four offshore wind farms in Chinese waters (including the 300 MW, $856 million Longyuan Haian Jiangjiasha offshore wind farm) as some of the largest projects to receive financing in the third quarter, but in the end it was the Americas which saw the biggest percentage gains in investment in the third quarter, according to BNEF.
Specifically, Brazil saw investment jump an impressive 131% to reach $2.3 billion, due at least in part due to a rush on wind project financing, while Chile saw its own figures grow from $180 million in Q3’14 to $1.6 billion in Q3’15. And of course the United States also benefited from investment growth this quarter, with a 25% surge in investment to reach a whopping $13.4 billion.
“Investment in the first three quarters of this year has been $197.9bn, just $4.3bn down on the same period of 2014 – a resilient performance given the sizeable shifts in foreign exchange rates that will have reduced the dollar value of projects outside the US,” said Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
“Part of the explanation is the ongoing improvement in cost-effectiveness of solar and wind relative to fossil fuel generation. That is enabling those renewable energy technologies to attract a big share of power sector investment everywhere from China and Japan to Latin America and South Africa.”
China was the largest region for investment, taking in $26.7 billion in the third quarter, up 5% on a year earlier, followed by the US with $13.4 billion. These two were followed by the Asia-Pacific region (excluding China and India) with $11.4 billion, which is down 1% on a year earlier.
Europe, however, dropped significantly, down 48% from the third quarter in 2014 to only $5.8 billion over the third quarter, the region’s weakest performance since the fourth quarter of 2004!
“The drop in European investment reflects in part a lull in offshore wind financings in Q3, after no fewer than three deals worth more than $2 billion off the coasts of the UK and Germany in the second quarter,” said Angus McCrone, senior analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “But it is also the case that support policies have become less friendly to wind and solar investors in several countries, including Italy, Germany, Denmark and, most recently, the UK.”
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