Investment in renewable energy capacity grows 5%: BNEF

renewable energy investment in H1 2020

Investment in new renewable energy capacity (excluding large hydro-electric dams of more than 50MW) rose 5 percent to $132.4 billion in the first half of 2020 from a revised $125.8 billion in the same period of 2019, the latest figures from research company BloombergNEF (BNEF) show.

Offshore wind financings rose 319 percent to $35 billion in H1. The first half of this year saw investment decisions made on 28 sea-based wind farms, including the largest ever, the 1.5GW Vattenfall Hollandse Zuid array off the coast of the Netherlands, costing an estimated $3.9 billion.

Other major offshore deals included 1.1GW SSE Seagreen project off U.K., at an estimated $3.8 billion; the 600MW CIP Changfang Xidao array off Taiwan, at an estimated $3.6 billion; and Fecamp and Saint-Brieuc projects in French waters, together totaling 993MW and $5.4 billion.

There were no fewer than 17 Chinese installations financed, led by the Guangdong Yudean Yangjiang Yangxi Shapaat 600MW and $1.8 billion.

“We expected to see Covid-19 affecting renewable energy investment in the first half, via delays in the financing process and to some auction programs. There are signs of that in both solar and onshore wind, but the overall global figure has proved amazingly resilient – thanks to offshore wind,” Albert Cheung, head of analysis at BNEF, said.

Offshore wind is benefitting from the 67 percent reduction in levelized costs achieved since 2012, and to the performance of the latest, giant turbines.

“But the first half of this year also owed a lot to a rush in China to finance and build, in order to take advantage of a feed-in tariff before it expires at the end of 2021. I expect a slowdown in offshore wind investment globally in the second half, with potentially a new spike early next year,” Tom Harries, head of wind analysis at BNEF, said.

Onshore wind investment slipped 21 percent to $37.5 billion, while that for solar fell 12 percent to $54.7 billion.

Investment in new biomass and waste-to-energy plants fell 34 percent to $3.7 billion, while that in geothermal rose 594 percent to $676 million.

Small hydro projects of less than 50MW attracted an estimated $576 million, down 14 percent, and biofuel production plants $250 million, down 82 percent.

China was the largest renewable energy market, receiving investment of $41.6 billion in 1H 2020, up 42 percent compared to the same period in 2019 thanks to its offshore wind boom.

Europe secured $36.5 billion, up 50 percent, investment in new renewable energy capacity.

U.S. slipped 30 percent to $17.8 billion in terms of investment in new renewable energy capacity.

Japan saw financings in Investment in new renewable energy capacity increasing 14 percent to an estimated $10.8 billion.

India’s investment in new renewable energy capacity fell 49 percent to $2.7 billion.

Brazil’s investment in new renewable energy capacity was down 26 percent at $2.5 billion in H1 2020.

Investment in new renewable energy capacity in the Netherlands were up 231 percent at $6.9 billion.

Investment in new renewable energy capacity in France was up 306 percent at $6.2 billion.

Investment in new renewable energy capacity in U.K. 265 percent higher at $5.7 billion.

Investment in new renewable energy capacity in Spain fell 11 percent at $3.7 billion.

Investment in new renewable energy capacity in Germany rose 20 percent at $3.6 billion.
Angus McCrone, chief editor at BNEF, said that a clearer picture of the impact of Covid-19 on green energy investment will come with the full-year 2020 figures.

BNEF’s data for corporate-level investment in renewables and energy-smart technologies such as battery storage show that equity raising by specialist companies on public markets was $2.4 billion in the first half of 2020, down 43 percent. Investment from venture capital and private equity funds was up 10 percent at $2.5 billion.

The biggest deals on public markets were initial public offerings by two Chinese solar companies, Jinko Power Technology and Trina Solar, raising $366 million and $359 million respectively.

The top ones in VC/PE were private equity expansion round for Altus Power America, a U.S. solar project developer, totaling $850 million; and a PE round of $300 million for Scale Microgrid Solutions, a U.S. company putting together energy systems involving solar and batteries.

Overall clean energy investment, including renewables capacity financing and corporate-level equity deals, came to $137 billion in the first half of 2020, up 4 percent on 1H 2019’s $131.9 billion, BNEF said.