Global clean energy investment was $53.6bn in the first quarter of this year, down 17 per cent from the same period in 2016.
Figures released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) show that the highlights of the period were $1.4bn of public market share issues by electric vehicle company Tesla, and the estimated $650million financing by Enel of its 754 MW Villanueva solar PV complex in Mexico.
BNEF stated that weaker features included a 60 per cent year-on-year fall in offshore wind financings to $4.6bn from $11.5bn in Q1 of 2016, and lower investment in the two biggest markets, the US and China. The US saw $9.4bn invested in Q1, down 24 per cent, while China was at $17.2bn, down 11 per cent.
Jon Moore, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said this year’s first quarter “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.”
Abraham Louw, analyst, clean energy economics at BNEF, added: “It was a relatively quiet first quarter for global investment, but it’s too early to assume that 2017 as a whole will be lower than last year. BNEF analysts are currently expecting both wind and solar to see similar – or higher – numbers of megawatts added this year than last.”
In onshore wind, the biggest deal was for the Texoma wind portfolio in the US, at 500 MW.
Geographically, the first quarter saw declines in investment in the US and China, and a particularly sharp 91 per cent plunge to $1.2bn in the UK, where there were no new offshore wind financings.
However, German investment was up 96 per cent year-on-year at $3bn, France increased 145 per cent at $1.1bn and Japan rose 36 per cent to $4.1bn.
Developing countries also had varying fortunes: India investment was $2.8bn, down just 2 per cent, while Mexico was up 47-fold at $2.3bn and Brazil down 3 per cent at $1.8bn. In Africa, one of the highlights was the $350m financing of an 80 MW biomass plant in Rwanda by HQ Power.