Clean energy attracts a record US$329bn global investment in 2015

Clean energy investment surged in China, Africa, the USA, Latin America and India in 2015, driving the world total to its highest ever figure, of US$329.3bn, up 4% on 2014’s revised figure of $315.9bn and beating the previous record, set in 2011, by 3%. 2015 was also the highest ever for installation of renewable capacity, with 64 GW of wind and 57 GW of solar PV commissioned during the year, an increase of nearly 30% over 2014. The latest figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance show global investment growing in 2015 to nearly six times its 2004 total and a new record of one third of a trillion dollars, despite four influences that might have been expected to restrain it.

These influences were: further declines in the cost of solar PV power, meaning that more capacity could be installed for the same price; the strength of the US currency, reducing the dollar value of non-dollar investments; the continued weakness of the European economy, the former powerhouse of renewable energy investment; and, perhaps most significantly, the plunge in fossil fuel commodity prices.

Over the 18 months to the end of 2015, the price of Brent crude plunged 67% from $112.36 to $37.28 per barrel with international steam coal delivered to the NW Europe hub dropping 35% from $73.70 to $47.60 per tonne. Natural gas in the USA fell 48% on the Henry Hub index from $4.42 to $2.31 per million BTU. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY January-February 2016