Investment trends in renewable power capacity from BNEF

Duke Energy Renewables

A recent report indicated commitments equivalent to 826 GW of new non-hydro renewable power capacity, at a likely cost of around USD 1 trillion, by 2030.

The cost of installing renewable energy has hit new lows, meaning future investments will deliver far more capacity, the report said.

The report called Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2020 — from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre and BloombergNEF (BNEF), available at www.fs-unep-centre.org — analyzes 2019 investment trends, and clean energy commitments made by countries and corporations for the next decade.

Renewable energy records in 2019

# Highest solar power capacity additions in one year, at 118 GW
# Highest investment in offshore wind in one year, at USD 29.9 billion, up 19 percent year-on-year
# Largest financing ever for a solar project, at USD 4.3 billion for Al Maktoum IV in the United Arab Emirates
# Highest volume of renewable energy corporate power purchase agreements, at 19.5GW
# Highest capacity awarded in renewable energy auctions, at 78.5GW worldwide
# Highest renewables investment ever in developing economies other than China and India, at USD 59.5 billion
# A broadening investment, with a record 21 countries and territories investing more than USD 2 billion in renewables

Renewable energy capacity, excluding large hydro-electric dams of more than 50 MW, grew by 184 gigawatts (GW) in 2019. This highest-ever annual addition was 20 GW, or 12 percent, more than the new capacity commissioned in 2018. The dollar investment in 2019 was 1 percent higher than the previous year, at USD 282.2 billion.

The all-in, or levelized, cost of electricity continues to fall for wind and solar, thanks to technology improvements, economies of scale and fierce competition in auctions. Costs for electricity from new solar photovoltaic plants in the second half of 2019 were 83 per cent lower than a decade earlier.

“This research shows that renewable energy is one of the smartest, most cost-effective investments they can make in these packages,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP.

Renewable energy has been eating away at fossil fuels’ dominant share of electricity generation over the last decade.

Nearly 78 per cent of the net new GW of generating capacity added globally in 2019 was in wind, solar, biomass and waste, geothermal and small hydro. Investment in renewables, excluding large hydro, was more than three times that in new fossil fuel plants.

“Renewables such as wind and solar power already account for almost 80 percent of newly built capacity for electricity generation,” said Svenja Schulze, minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany.

The 2019 investment brought the share of renewables, excluding large hydro, in global generation to 13.4 per cent, up from 12.4 percent in 2018 and 5.9 percent in 2009.