New figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, published Wednesday, show that renewable energy investment in China plummeted 39% in the first half of 2019. This leaves it at $28.8 billion, the lowest figure for any half-year period since 2013, subsequently dragging global renewable energy investment down 14% to $117.6 billion.
China’s gravity on the global renewable energy industry was on full display, accounting for 24% of the global total, despite its mammoth 39% plunge. However, at least in part, China’s first half of 2019 will not necessarily be represented in its second half, and therefore the year as a whole will likely look somewhat different.
“The slowdown in investment in China is real, but the figures for first-half 2019 probably overstate its severity,” said Justin Wu, head of Asia-Pacific for BNEF. “We expect a nationwide solar auction happening now to lead to a rush of new PV project financings. We could also see several big deals in offshore wind in the second half.”
Specifically, China’s solar industry suffered a 46% downturn in the first quarter, installing only 5.2 gigawatts (GW) due to a lack of certainty about the future of the government’s solar policy. However, with its Feed-in Tariff policy for 2019 finally announced in late-April, and 21 GW of grid-parity wind and solar projects announced in late May, the second half of 2019 is expected to outshine its sluggish start.
The other major highlight of BNEF’s 1H 2019 figures were the financing of multi-billion-dollar projects in two relatively new markets — a 950 MW, $4.2 billion solar thermal and photovoltaic complex in Dubai, and two offshore wind arrays off the coast of Taiwan valued at $5.7 billion for capacity of 640 MW and 900 MW each.
“Al Maktoum IV is an unusual one in combining three different types of solar – the thermal technologies of parabolic trough and tower, with conventional PV – but it is also a strong signal of the appetite for solar electricity on the part of both Middle Eastern countries and international financiers,” explained Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis for BNEF.
Overall, however, the “big three” renewable energy markets of China, the United States, and Europe all experienced downturns in the first half of the year. Chinese investment was seen dropping 39% to $28.8 billion, US investment dropping 6% to $23.6 billion, and Europe dropping 4% to $22.2 billion.
On the up-side, Japan saw a 3% increase in investment, resulting in $8.7 billion in the first half of the year, while India saw a 10% increase resulting in $5.9 billion. Brazil took in $1.4 billion, a 19% increase, while Spain was a shining light in Europe’s overall cloudy results, with $3.7 billion in investments, up a mammoth 235%.
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