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China invested a total of US$126.6 billion in renewable energy in 2017, the highest figure ever and accounting for 45 percent of global green energy investment, the ‘Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018’ report showed.
Total global investment in renewables last year increased by 2 percent to US$279.8 billion, taking cumulative investment since 2010 to US$2.2 trillion, and to US$2.9 trillion since 2004, according to the report by UN Environment, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).
“The latest rise in capital outlays took place in a context of further falls in the costs of wind and solar that made it possible to buy megawatts of equipment more cheaply than ever before,” the authors of the report wrote.
Last week, BNEF said in another report that tumbling costs for wind, solar, and batteries are squeezing fossil fuels as a source of power generation.
According to the more recent report, China led in total renewable investment with a record-high spending that was up 31 percent on the year. China saw an “extraordinary solar boom” last year with around 53 GW installed and solar investment of US$86.5 billion, up 58 percent from 2016.
Globally, solar power attracted far more investment than any other technology—US$160.8 billion, an 18-percent annual increase—and China was the “driving power” behind it, the report said.
For all renewable sources, Australia, Mexico, and Sweden saw sharp increases in investment, while renewable energy investment in the U.S. was far below China’s and dropped by 6 percent annually to US$40.5 billion.
“It was relatively resilient in the face of policy uncertainties, although changing business strategies affected small-scale solar,” the report said of the U.S. investment.
European investments dropped 36 percent to US$40.9 billion, due to a 65-percent fall in UK investment that reflected an end to subsidies for onshore wind and utility-scale solar, and a big gap between auctions for offshore wind projects. Germany’s investment slumped 35 percent on lower costs per MW for offshore wind, and uncertainty over a shift to auctions for onshore wind.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com