Clean Energy Investment at Record-Breaking $329b

Clean Energy Investment  at Record-Breaking $329b
Clean Energy Investment  at Record-Breaking $329b

Last year was a record year for clean energy investment and 2016 should be even better.

The world saw an all-time high of $329 billion invested in clean energy in 2015, which beat the previous record of $318 billion set back in 2011, Oil Price reported, citing a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which publishes global figures on the clean energy sector.

Clean energy saw record investment even while oil and gas prices plunged.

Underpinning the strong growth for new solar and wind projects are falling costs for equipment and installation, stronger companies with competitive supply chains and increasingly supportive policy.

What many may not know about the clean energy sector in 2015 is that China alone accounted for more than $110 billion in clean energy investment, or nearly one-third of the total investment dollars. China will again be the largest clean energy market in 2016, BNEF says.

The US saw clean energy investment jump by 8% in 2015, with rooftop solar leading the way. Still, the total $56 billion invested are still half of the level seen in China. Nevertheless, the US will be a key growth market moving forward.

Elsewhere, Brazil saw clean energy investment fall by 10% as the country entered its worst recession in recent memory. India, on the other hand, achieved an impressive 23% increase in investment.

BNEF also highlighted other emerging clean energy markets: Mexico ($4.2 billion), Chile ($3.5 billion), South Africa ($4.5 billion) and Morocco ($2 billion) all have billion-dollar clean energy sectors.

  Dark Clouds

There are a few dark clouds on the horizon that could upset the banner year for clean energy. China’s economic problems could put a dent in investment.

The US Federal Reserve raising interest rates and supporting a strengthening of the US dollar will increase the cost of capital for new solar and wind projects.

And while cheap fossil fuels did not head off the clean energy boom in 2015, persistently low oil and gas prices could prevent much stronger growth.

Still, the clean energy sector is now a-third-of-a-trillion-dollar industry, BNEF says, with much more room on the upside. The transition to clean energy is already underway and there is probably no going back.

  Record-Smashing Denmark

Denmark produced 42% of its electricity from wind turbines last year according to official data, the highest figure yet recorded worldwide.

The new yearend figures showed a 3% rise on 2014, which was itself a record year for Danish wind energy generation.

One of the main reasons for the record-breaking year was that 2015 was a particularly windy year. If two large onshore wind farms at Anholt and Horns Rev 2 had not been out of action, wind could have comprised 43.5% of Denmark’s total power.

As it was, wind turbines provided 55% of the electricity in Denmark’s west, and 23% in its east.

The Scandinavian country’s surplus wind energy is mostly sold to consumers in Norway, Sweden and Germany, while it imports hydroelectric power from Norway and solar energy from Germany.

The Danish government looks to be well on the way to meeting its goal of producing half of all electricity from wind by 2050.