Global investment in renewable energy dropped 14% in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018, according to BloombergNEF (BNEF).
China saw the steepest slowdown—39%. The country invested US$28.8 billion in the first six months of the year, the lowest figure for any half-year period since 2013, BNEF said.
“The slowdown in investment in China is real, but the figures for first-half 2019 probably overstate its severity,” said Justin Wu, head of Asia-Pacific for BNEF. “We expect a nationwide solar auction happening now to lead to a rush of new PV project financings. We could also see several big deals in offshore wind in the second half.”
BNEF’s report also highlighted the financing of multibillion-dollar projects in two relatively new markets – a solar thermal and photovoltaic complex in Dubai, at 950 MW and US$4.2 billion, and two offshore wind arrays in the sea off Taiwan, at 640 MW and 900 MW and an estimated combined cost of US$5.7 billion.
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. The two Taiwanese offshore wind projects, Wpd Yunlin Yunneng and Ørsted Greater Changhua, involve European developers, investors and banks, as well as local players.
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 US$23.6 billion and Europe down 4% at US$22.2 billion compared to 1H 2018, far less than China’s 39% setback.
Japan attracted US$8.7 billion of investment, up 3% on 1H 2018, and India US$5.9 billion, up 10%, as it continued its drive toward its ambitious target for 175GW of renewable energy by 2022, BNEF said. Brazil saw investment of US$1.4 billion, up 19%.
In Europe, Spain was the star performer at US$3.7 billion, up 235% on the same period a year earlier, while the Netherlands was 41% lower at US$2.2 billion, Germany down 42% at US$2.1 billion, the U.K. up 35% at US$2.5 billion and France down 75% at US$567 million. Sweden saw investment jump 212% to US$2.5 billion, and the Ukraine 60% to US$1.7 billion.
Venture capital and private equity funding of clean energy companies in 1H 2019 was down 2% at US$4.7 billion. There were three exceptionally large deals, however: US$1 billion each for Swedish battery company Northvolt and U.S. electric vehicle battery charging specialist Lucid Motors, and US$700 million for another U.S. EV player, Rivian Automotive.
BloombergNEF (BNEF), Bloomberg’s primary research service, covers clean energy, advanced transport, digital industry, innovative materials and commodities.