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What Regions Show Most Renewable Energy Investment?

REN21 in their Global Status Report 2016 drew on data from BNEF to highlight the different trajectories of renewable energy investment by region in the 2005-15 period.

The share of global investment accounted for by developing countries rose from 49% in 2014 to 55% in 2015, with the dollar commitment at $155.9 billion, up from $131.5 billion the previous year. Developed economies invested $130.1 billion, compared to $141.6 billion in 2014. Within the developing-economy category, the “big three” of China, India and Brazil saw investment rise 16% to $120.2 billion, while “other developing” economies enjoyed a 30% bounce to $36.1 billion. China was by far the largest investing country for renewables excluding large hydro, its $102.9 billion for 2015, up 17%, representing well over a third of the global total. The US was a distant second, with $44.1 billion, up 19%.Japan was a clear third in the ranks of investing nations, its $36.2 billion, level with 2014, followed at a distance by the UK with $22.2 billion, up 25%, and India on $10.2 billion, up 22%. Germany recorded $8.5 billion, down 46%, and Brazil $7.1 billion, down 10%. Three “new markets” completed the top 10 investors – South Africa up 309% to $4.5 billion, as its auction programme crystallised into financed projects; Mexico doubling to $4 billion, and Chile rising 143% to $3.4 billion.


Global New Investment in Renewable Power and Fuels, by Country/Region 2005 – 2015


The strongest and most consistent upswing in dollar commitments has come in China, which invested just $3 billion in 2004, then multiplied this 13-fold by 2010 and another two and half times by 2015, to a record $102.9 billion. Other regions have not trodden quite such a consistent upward path, although Asia-Oceania excluding China and India saw investment reach $47.6 billion in 2015 (largely thanks to Japan). This was slightly less than the previous year’s $48.8 billion but far above 2004’s $7.3 billion. And India enjoyed a second-successive year of increasing investment, breaching the $10 billion for the first time since 2011. The Middle East and Africa saw investment gather pace from less than $1 billion in 2004 to a record $12.5 billion in 2015, thanks partly to South Africa’s successful auction programme. The Americas excluding the US and Brazil have seen investment bobbing around the $10 billion to $13 billion range since 2010, but behind this has been a general upward trend in Spanish-speaking Latin America and volatile year-on-year figures from Canada. Of the remaining large geographical areas in Figure 12, the US saw investment pick up in the last two years to reach its highest since the peak of “green stimulus” spending in 2011. The latest spurt has owed most to solar – both utility-scale and rooftop. Europe, meanwhile, recorded its biggest year for investment in dollar terms back in 2011, and has seen sharp falls since then, with 2015 the lowest figure since 2006.

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