Clean energy investment fall 17% in Q1 2017

Global clean energy investment in the first quarter of 2017 was down 17% compared to the same period of 2016, according to the latest figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

Clean energy investment worldwide totaled $53.6 billion worldwide in the first quarter of this year, down 17% from Q1 2016 but only 7% lower than the final quarter of last year, BNEF informed.

The $53.6 billion funneled into projects such as renewable energy, efficiency and electric cars during the first three months of the year marked the lowest investment for the quarter since 2013, BNEF said, adding that surge in financing for large offshore wind projects at the start of last year wasn’t repeated in 2017.

At the same time, bright spots for the industry were marked by a $1.4 billion share sale by Tesla, and $650 million for Enel’s solar project in Mexico that may be the biggest plant of its kind.

Abraham Louw, Clean Energy Economics Analyst at BNEF, said: “It was a relatively quiet first quarter for global investment, but it’s too early to assume that 2017 as a whole will be lower than last year. BNEF analysts are currently expecting both wind and solar to see similar – or higher – numbers of megawatts added this year than last.”

The largest category of investment in Q1 2017 as usual was asset finance of utility-scale renewable energy projects, totaling $39 billion in the first quarter, down 28% from Q1 2016, BNEF informed.

This includes all 1MW-plus projects in wind, solar, biomass and waste, geothermal, small hydro, biofuels and marine, but excludes large hydro-electric dams of more than 50MW.

Splitting the figures geographically, Q1 2017 saw declines in investment in the US and China, and a particularly sharp decline in the UK – down 91% to $1.2 billion.

However, German investment was up 96% year-on-year at $3 billion, while France was up 145% at $1.1 billion and Japan up 36% at $4.1 billion, according to BNEF.

BNEF provides financial, economic and policy analysis, as well as news and database of assets, investments, companies and equipment in the clean energy space.