Renewable Energy Investments Soared in 2015

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Originally published on the ECOreport

More money was invested in renewables ($367 billion US) than in fossil fuels ($253 billion US) in 2015. Developing nations passed developed countries in terms of money invested. Two of the leaders in this trend were China ($110.5 billion US) and India ($10.9 billion US), which were first and fourth, respectively, in terms of global ranking. Despite intense political conflicts, America and the UK increased their investments 7% and 23% respectively. Overall, Clean Energy Canada’s latest TRACKING THE ENERGY REVOLUTION reports that while fossil fuels crashed, renewable energy investments soared in 2015.

Clean Energy Investments Soared In 2015

” …. In countries such as China and India, delivering more power without adding to the smog that already chokes big cities is paramount. In the United States, climate action is driving a shift from coal-fired power to clean energy. African countries, including South Africa, are delivering power to communities for the first time and want to avoid the expense of a centralized grid. Around the world, the growing cost-competitiveness of clean energy makes it an easier and easier choice,” writes Merran Smith, Executive Director of Clean Energy Canada.

” …. Globally, 96 cities, states and even countries have set ambitious targets to achieve up to 100 per cent renewable energy. And it isn’t just governments: some of the world’s largest and most- recognized companies are committing to—and securing—100 per cent renewable power.”[1. TRACKING THE ENERGY REVOLUTION Global 2016, p 2]
By Vinaykumar8687 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Emerging Markets

Two emerging markets to watch are Africa, which has the resource potential to leap ahead in the development of renewables, and the Middle East. Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco are all embarking on ambitious plans for the future. Oil rich Dubai intends to obtain 75% of its energy from renewables by 2050. [2. ibid, p 7]

“The electricity system is shifting to clean. Despite the change in oil and gas prices there is going to be a substantial buildout of renewable energy that is likely to be an order of magnitude larger than the buildout of coal and gas.” wrote Michael Liebreich of Bloomberg New Energy Finance. [3. ibid, p 4]

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 6.03.07 AM

Noticeably Absent: Canada

Noticeably absent from this advance was Canada, which developed into a Petro-state during the past peace. Canadian investments in renewables actually shrank 46%.

“Canada has a patchwork of provincial renewable power policies varying from province to province, and these policies haven’t provided long-term certainty. The country has also suffered from a lack of overarching federal policy support: pipelines trumped powerlines as a national priority.” [4. ibid, p 5]

The good news is that under the newly elected Trudeau administration this could change.

Meanwhile, despite the lack of federal government support, a number of Canadian companies are major players on the world stage:

  • Ontario based Canadian Solar is the world’s second largest  manufacturer of solar panels
  • Ontario based AMP Solar Group Inc. is installing systems on 523 schools in the Toronto area and recently signed an agreement to develop 500 MW in India.
  • Ontario based Electrovaya Inc is a leading designer, developer and manufacturer of Lithium Ion SuperPolymer® batteries, battery systems, and energy storage-related products. It purchased Europe’s largest lithium-ion battery ‘gigafactory’ (evonik Litarion GmbH) last year.
  • Ontario based SkyPower is one of the world’s largest developers of utility-scale solar energy projects, with 9 GW of capacity and  25 GW in its project pipeline.
  • Ontario based Hydrogenics develops and manufactures hydrogen generation and fuel cell products. They have contracts in China and South Korea.
  • Burnaby, B.C.,  based Tantalus developed a smart grid technology that allows utilities “to monitor, control and respond to events anywhere and at any time across its distribution network. ” [5. ibid, p 11]

Around the globe:

Total annual clean energy investment, TRACKING THE ENERGY REVOLUTION, p 5

  • $161 billion was invested in solar, a 23% increase over last year.
  • $110 billion in wind power, up 31%
  • $42 billion in large scale hydro, the world’s #1 supplier of clean energy (59%)
  • $41 billion in biomass
  • $6 billion in small hydro & run of the river technologies
  • $4 billion in geothermal
  • $3 billion in marine technologies [6. ibid, pps 6, 9]

Photo Credit:  Morning full of energy by Matthias Ripp via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License); By Vinaykumar8687Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,; Change in clean energy investment (2014–2015), TRACKING THE ENERGY REVOLUTION, p 7; Total annual clean energy investment, TRACKING THE ENERGY REVOLUTION, p 5

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Roy L Hales

is the President of Cortes Community Radio , CKTZ 89.5 FM, where he has hosted a half hour program since 2014, and editor of the Cortes Currents (formerly the ECOreport), a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of British Columbia. He is a research junkie who has written over 2,000 articles since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.

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6 thoughts on “Renewable Energy Investments Soared in 2015

  • Granted fossil fuels had low investment due to a rough market last year, but this is a fantastic achievement! Onwards toward clean!!!

    • And that investment bought more production per dollar than ever before. The really great news here, is that the bean counters have joined the tree huggers. Renewables have become a great value.

      • great point that I was about to make, but now need not

      • I would really like to see capacity added, on that second graph

  • It’s surprising how much money is still going into big hydro. It’ s a classic technology of diminishing returns: the best sites (Itaipu) have all been taken, what’s left (Belo Monte) has worse siting, worse water, and/or is more remote. But the inevitable slowdown has not happened yet. It won’t take long as wind and solar keep getting cheaper, and big dams follow nuclear reactors into the history books.

    • Maybe should we think of hydro more as a complementary power source rather than a main one. In this view, hydro would be compared to batteries or other backup systems that are needed to complement solar for example.

Comments are closed.