BNEF: Clean Energy Investments Down 17% Year-Over-Year in Q1 2017


www.greentechmedia.com | Published April 11, 2017

By Julia Pyper

lean energy investment numbers for the first quarter of 2017 show a mix of performances across the cleantech sector.

Worldwide clean energy investments totaled $53.6 billion in the first quarter of this year, down 17 percent from the first quarter of 2016, and down 7 percent from the final quarter of last year, according to new figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). This downward trend comes after annual investments dropped by 18 percent from 2015 to 2016 — from a record high of $348.5 billion to $287.5 billion for the year.

Offshore wind financings have been a big weak spot in early 2017, falling 60 percent year-over-year to $4.6 billion from $11.5 billion in first quarter 2016. This coincides with a sharp drop in clean energy investments (down 91 percent to $1.2 billion) in the UK, where there are no new offshore wind financings following last year’s bumper year.

The two biggest clean energy markets in the world, the U.S. and China, also saw investment numbers slip in the first quarter of 2017. The U.S. declined 24 percent year-over-year to $9.4 billion, while China was down 11 percent to $17.2 billion.

While these numbers appear to be all bad news, they’re actually a bit misleading because the decline in technology costs lowers investment totals, while the number of project deployments and associated capacity continues to increase. As Jon Moore, BNEF chief executive, put it: “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.”

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