Investment hits new high

Skyline of the Bund waterfront area in Shanghai:  China is investing heavily in renewables.
Skyline of the Bund waterfront area in Shanghai: China is investing heavily in renewables.

RENEWABLE energy investment increased for the first time in three years in 2014, totaling $310 billion and nearly surpassing the all-time high set in 2011 of $318 billion. The figures appeared in a report compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and released in early January, which found that investment in wind, solar, biofuels and other low-carbon energy technologies prevailed amidst the turbulence of dropping oil prices and regulatory indecision to grow 16 percent over the course of 2014.
“Healthy investment in clean energy may surprise some commentators, who have been predicting trouble for renewables as a result of the oil price collapse,” said Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board of the London-based researcher, in a statement. “Our answer is that 2014 was too early to see any noticeable effect on investment. The impact of cheaper crude will be felt much more in road transport than in electricity generation.”
Liebreich had predicted a clean energy investment rebound of at least 10 percent in 2014, but the actual figures surpassed expectations. The unanticipated rise was attributed in part to solar power investment, which made up nearly half of the total by increasing 25 percent to $149.6 billion in 2014. Wind power investment also achieved an all-time high of $99.5 billion, rising 11 percent mostly through large, offshore wind projects.
Ben Warren, Head of Environmental Finance at EY, commented on the figures: “This increase in renewable energy investment demonstrates the resilience of the sector in the face of tumbling oil prices.
He flet it was a trend that looked set to continue as renewables technology gets more affordable. “The increasing role that renewable energy plays in emerging markets will also help ensure sustainable growth for the sector.”