The first half of 2019 saw a 39% slowdown in renewable energy investment in the world’s biggest market, China, to $28.800 M$, the lowest figure for any half-year period since 2013, according to the latest figures from BloombergNEF (BNEF).
The other highlight of global clean energy investment in 1H 2019 was the financing of multibillion-dollar projects in two relatively new markets – a solar thermal and photovoltaic complex in Dubai, at 950MW and 4.200 M$, and two offshore wind arrays in the sea off Taiwan, at 640MW and 900MW and an estimated combined cost of 5.700 M$.
The Dubai deal in late March, for the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum IV project, is the biggest financing ever seen in the solar sector. It involves 2.600 M$ of debt from 10 Chinese, Gulf and Western banks, plus 1.600 M$ of equity from Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Saudi-based developer ACWA Power and equity partner Silk Road Fund of China.
The two Taiwanese offshore wind projects, Wpd Yunlin Yunneng and Ørsted Greater Changhua, involve European developers, investors and banks, as well as local players. Offshore wind activity is broadening its geographical focus, from Europe’s North Sea and China’s coastline, toward new markets such as Taiwan, the U.S. East Coast, India and Vietnam.
BNEF’s figures for clean energy investment in the first half of 2019 show mixed fortunes for the world’s major markets. The “big three” of China, the U.S. and Europe all showed falls, but with the U.S. down a modest 6% at 23.600 M$ and Europe down 4% at 22.200 M$ compared to 1H 2018, far less than China’s 39% setback.
Breaking global clean energy investment down by type of transaction, asset finance of utility-scale generation projects such as wind farms and solar parks was down 24% at 85.6 M$, due in large part to the China factor. Financing of small-scale solar systems of less than 1MW was up 32% at 23.7 M$ in the first half of this year.
Investment in specialist clean energy companies via public markets was 37% higher at 5.600 M$, helped by two big equity raisings for electric vehicle makers – an $863 M$ secondary issue for Tesla, and a 650 M$ convertible issue for China-based NIO.
Venture capital and private equity funding of clean energy companies in 1H 2019 was down 2% at 4.700 M$. There were three exceptionally large deals, however: $1 billion each for Swedish battery company Northvolt and U.S. electric vehicle battery charging specialist Lucid Motors, and 700 M$ for another U.S. EV player, Rivian Automotive.