Global clean energy investment falls in 2018

by Chris Becker

While the headline looks bad at first glance, there’s still a lot of good news for renewable energy investors and energy consumers with the Bloomberg New Energy Finance annual report out this week.

Global clean energy investment totaled $332.1 billion in 2018, down 8% on 2017; last year was the fifth in a row in which investment exceeded the $300 billion mark. Solar commitments declined 24% in dollar terms even though there was record new photovoltaic capacity added, breaking 100GW barrier for the first time.

So while in dollar terms the value of new investments has declined, the good news is the cost curve for renewables is also declining, making it more cost effective than fossil fuels.



More detail here at CleanTechnica:

The vast majority of technologies saw varying levels of increased investment in 2018. Smaller technologies such as biomass and waste-to-energy increased by 18% to $6.3 billion, biofuels increased by 47% to $3 billion, geothermal increased by 10% to $1.8 billion, and marine investment increased by 16% to $180 million.

Small hydro, on the other hand, decreased by 50% to $1.7 billion.

Wind investment increased by 3% in 2018, representing an increase of 14% for offshore wind with $25.7 billion and a 2% increase for onshore wind which saw investments total $100.8 billion.

Most importantly, however, has been the shift away from traditionally dominant offshore countries towards China, with 13 Chinese offshore wind farms starting construction in 2018 at an estimated value of $11.4 billion.

“The balance of activity in offshore is tilting,” explained David Hostert, head of wind analysis at BNEF. “Countries such as the U.K. and Germany pioneered this industry and will remain important, but China is taking over as the biggest market and new locations such as Taiwan and the U.S. East Coast are seeing strong interest from developers.”

So why has solar investment reduced so quickly? Mainly due to Chinese investment as a result of the dramatic shift in their internal policies as the renewable sector became too disruptive, even for the so-called command economy. This may reverse as the market stabilises, as does the ongoing trade war with the US, but also as the glut of PV cells made in China is absorbed by the global market.

But the upside news is the cost of installing solar energy is reducing at double digit rates, with a 12% drop to install 1 MW in 2018, with solar and wind continually cheaper than fossil fuels, confirmed by the CSIRO/AEMO study released late last year, even when you include storage costs.

And this is all without any widespread carbon price or a reduction in the gigantic tax subsidies given to fossil fuel energy extraction and production.

Australia needs to urgently reserve its gas exports and veto any new fossil fuel power generations, and still save money by investing in renewables. Conservatives are supposed to be more economic savvy than the tree-huggers, so why haven’t they stepped behind the reality of cleaner and cheaper energy?


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  1. Since they’re getting more bang per buck invested each year, usage continues to rise.strongly, that no bunch political retards can stop now like they did in the 80s. Impressive.

    • Correct. There is an overwhelming sense of inevitability about the growth of renewable energy. Trying to stop it is like standing in front of a speeding freight train and waving your hands… futile. That doesn’t mean that conservatives with links to coal won’t try! 🙄

  2. “So while in dollar terms the value of new investments has declined, the good news is the cost curve for renewables is also declining, making it more cost effective than fossil fuels”
    Are you sure? How true would this statement be in the absence of any government subsidies, especially now that the oil price has tanked?

  3. Wind, solar, free energy all are good.
    Chernobyl is still being patched. Good ole commie ism failed there. So no nuclear is fossilised as well.

  4. Cheerleaders for ‘green’ energy are so deluded and conflicted it beggars belief. The bottom line is this: individuals will (without any encouragement or incentive from Govt) migrate to the cheapest form of energy (whatever that may be). Ergo, if it makes more sense to use renewable / green energy sources, then people will do so — willingly (no Govt coercion necessary!)

    You would swear, listening to the shrill, nasal whine of the green energy pumpers that:
    a) green energy is not only superior but currently cheaper than fossil fuels, and that ..
    b) the only reason that ordinary folk are not defecting in droves is because there is a global Govt conspiracy to torpedo the efforts the green energy pumpers!

    OMFG. You couldn’t make this up ..

    • It’s like some people think this whole “electricity” thing is more complex than who can give it to you at the lowest price at any given point in time.


  5. The other reason electricity is expensive in Aus is that like in California, the power companies are required to service remote areas at huge expense and connect it to the grid. A line should be drawn on the map that if you have a property located in a certain area in Australia, you will either receive no service and need to be self-sufficient with solar and batteries, or you will be connected to a micro-grid that serves the local area.