Investment in renewable power and fuels $270.2 billion
This was the first increase for three years, and reflected several influences, including a boom in solar installations in China and Japan, totalling $74.9 billion between those two countries, and a record $18.6 billion of final investment decisions on offshore wind projects in Europe, Frankfurt School – UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance said.
The trend last year was, arguably, even more impressive than it would seem from the investment numbers, because a record number capacity of wind and solar photovoltaic power was installed, at about 95GW. This compared to 74GW in 2013, 79GW in 2012 and 70GW in 2011, the only year in which dollar investment was higher than 2014, at $278.8 billion. The main reason why investment last year was below that three years earlier was that technology costs, particularly in solar, have fallen sharply during the intervening period.
A key feature of 2014 was the continuing spread of renewable energy to new markets. Investment in developing countries, at $131.3 billion, was up 36% on the previous year and came the closest ever to overhauling the total for developed economies, at $138.9 billion, up just 3% on the year.
Indonesia, Chile, Mexico, Kenya, South Africa and Turkey were all in the billion-dollar-plus club in 2014 in terms of investment in renewables, and others such as Jordan, Uruguay, Panama, the Philippines and Myanmar were in the $500 million to $1 billion range.
The biggest locations for renewable energy investment last year were, predictably, the established markets in major economies – with China far out in front at $83.3 billion, a record number and 39% ahead of 2013.
In second place came the US, at $38.3 billion, up 7% on the year but still well below its all-time high, reached in 2011. Third came Japan, at $35.7 billion, a tenth higher than in 2013 and its biggest total ever. India was up 14% at $7.4 billion, and Brazil 93% higher, at $7.6 billion. ■