Offshore Wind Investments Drop in Q1 2017

The first quarter of this year saw a 60% year-on-year decrease in offshore wind financings, from USD 11.5 billion in Q1 2016 to USD 4.6 billion in Q1 2017, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) report on global clean energy investment.

Clean energy investments declined in the US and China, and the UK witnessed a particularly sharp drop (down 91% to USD 1.2 billion) in the first quarter of 2017 as there were no new offshore wind financings. However, German investment was up 96% year-on-year at USD 3 billion, while France was up 145% at USD 1.1 billion and Japan up 36% at USD 4.1 billion.

In asset finance of utility-scale renewable energy projects – the largest category by type of investment that also saw a fall of 28% in Q1 2017 – two offshore wind projects made it to the top as biggest projects financed. These include German 497MW Hohe See offshore wind farm at USD 1.9 billion and the 400MW CPI Binhai H2 offshore wind array in China at USD 911 million.

Worldwide, clean energy investment totalled USD 53.6 billion in the first quarter of this year, down 17% from Q1 2016, but only 7% lower than the final quarter of last year, according to BNEF’s figures, which show a mix of strong and weak features in Q1 2017. The strong points included USD 1.4 billion of public market share issues by Tesla, and the estimated USD 650 million financing by Enel of its Villanueva photovoltaic complex in Mexico – at 754MW.

Global new investment in clean energy by category, by quarter, $billion (Source: BNEF)

Jon Moore, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said: “Q1 this year reflects, once again, the declines in average capital costs per megawatt for wind and solar. This trend means that year-by-year it’s possible to finance equivalent amounts of capacity in these technologies for fewer dollars.”

Abraham Louw, analyst, clean energy economics 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.”