Renewable energy investment in 2018 reached US$288.9bn, exceeding fossil fuel investment


Investment in renewable energy reached US$288.9bn in 2018, according to new figures published in BloombergNEF’s Renewables 2019 Global Status Report.  The amount spent on new capacity far exceeding investments for new fossil fuel power.

“Global trends continue to indicate that investing in renewable energy is investing in a profitable future. Investments in renewable energy in 2018 were three times higher than the amount invested in new coal and gas-fired generators,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme. “While this is encouraging, we need to significantly step up the pace, if we are to meet international climate & development goals.”

The report shows that while investment decreased by 11 per cent compared to the previous year, 2018 was the fifth successive year that exceeded US$250bn investment in renewable energy. The decrease in investment in 2018 can be partly attributed to falling technology costs in solar photovoltaics.

“When overall investment falls, it is easy to think we are moving backwards, but that is not the case,” Angus McCrone, Chief Editor at BloombergNEF, commented: “Renewable energy is getting less expensive and we are seeing a broadening of investment activity in wind and solar to more countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East and Africa.”

Investment by source

  • Solar was still the largest focus of investment, with US$139.7bn in 2018, down 22%
  • Wind power investment reached US$134.1bn, in increase of 2%
  • Other sectors lagged far behind, although investment in biomass and waste-to-energy increased 54%, to US$8.7bn

Geographical breakdown

  • China accounted for 32% of the global total investment – decrease by 37% to US$91.2bn, due to a number of factors including a mid-year change in the government’s feed-in tariff policy, which hit investment in solar power
  • Europe at 21% of the total – increase by 39% to US$61.2bn, the highest level in two years, driven largely by large on- and off-shore wind investments
  • The United States at 17% of the total investment – increase by 1% to US$48.5bn, the highest level since 2011, driven by an increase in wind power financing
  • Asia-Oceania (excluding China and India) at 15%
  • India at 5%
  • The Middle East and Africa at 5%
  • The Americas (excluding Brazil and the United States) at 3%
  • Brazil at 1%



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