Global clean energy investment drops by 6 percent to $67.8 billion

10 Oct 2018, 12:00 am
Financial Nigeria


At $26.7 billion, China had the largest investment in clean energy in the third quarter of 2018.

Solar panels

Global clean energy investment declined by 6 percent in the third quarter of 2018, according to a new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), a subsidiary of Bloomberg, which provides primary research on clean energy, advanced transport, digital industry, innovative materials, and commodities.

Per report released by BNEF on Tuesday, investment in renewable energy – excluding large hydro-electric projects, plus equity-raising by companies in smart grid, digital energy, energy storage and electric vehicles – between July and September 2018 stood at $67.8 billion.

According to the research firm, three Chinese electric vehicle firms raised $1.9 billion between them from public market, venture capital and private equity investors during 3Q 2018. NIO raised $1 billion from a initial public offering, while Guangzhou Xiaopeng Motors and Zhejiang Dianka Automobile raised $585 million from Series C venture capital round and $294 million pre-IPO round, respectively. Colin McKerracher, head of advanced transport analysis at BNEF, said there is a growing amount of money chasing China’s electric vehicle boom.

“We’re seeing more companies raising funds as they look to make the jump from concept cars to high-volume manufacturing. But the market looks increasingly crowded and consolidation is likely,” McKerracher added.

The three biggest renewable energy asset financings in Q3 2018 were the $2.6 billion Triton Knoll 860MW project in U.K. waters, the 706MW Enel Green Power South Africa portfolio valued at $1.4 billion, and the 300MW Guohua Dongtai offshore wind farm phase four project in Chinese waters, valued at an estimated $1.2 billion.

On a country-by-country basis, China yet again had the largest investment in clean energy in 3Q at $26.7 billion. However, BNEF said there was a cooling-off in the country’s solar installation surge, in the face of deliberate action by policy-makers. In 3Q, Chinese solar investment was $14.2 billion, down 23% from a year earlier.

Other countries and trading blocs with investment in clean energy in excess of $1 billion in 3Q 2018 were Europe ($13.4 billion, up 1% compared to 3Q 2017); Germany ($1.3 billion, down 49%); India ($1.5 billion, up 14%); Japan ($4 billion, down 21%); Netherlands ($1.1 billion, up nearly fourfold); and South Africa ($2.6 billion, up 90-fold). Others are Spain ($1.9 billion, up 11-fold); Turkey ($1.2 billion, up 25%); U.K. ($2.9 billion, down 46%); and U.S. ($11.4 billion, down 20%).

Looking at the Q3 investment figures by type, asset finance of utility-scale renewable energy projects came to $49.3 billion, down 15% on 3Q 2017, while the purchase of small-scale solar systems of less than 1MW totaled $13.5 billion, up 9% compared to a year earlier.

Public markets investment in clean energy jumped 120% to $3.1 billion, helped by the NIO investment; $1.3 billion convertible issue from waste-to-energy specialist, China Everbright International; and a $311 million IPO by U.S. fuel cell developer, Bloom Energy.

Venture capital and private equity investment increased even more sharply, by 378% to $2.4 billion. VC/PE fundings of specialist clean energy companies reached $7.5 billion in the first nine months of 2018, according to BNEF.

The BNEF figures were released a day after the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its momentous report, calling for unprecedented and urgent actions to limit the increase in global average temperatures at the end of the century to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

The world’s leading climate scientists said actions must be taken to cut down greenhouse gases by 45 percent by 2030, and reach net zero by 2050. Otherwise every additional degree of increase in warming above 1.5°C would have devastating effects on the planet.