Clean Energy Investment Grows as Global CO2 Emissions Reach New Record High
UN Photo/Pasqual Gorriz
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In its 'State of Clean Energy Investment' report, Bloomberg New Energy Finance finds that global investment in renewable energy and energy-smart technologies grew 3% in 2017 to the second highest level on record, while costs for utility-scale PV systems fell 25%.

At the same time, the International Energy Agency's 'Global Energy and CO2 Status Report' shows that CO2 emissions increased in 2017, ending a three-year trend of stagnation.

28 March 2018: In its State of Clean Energy Investment report, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) finds global investment in renewable energy grew 3% in 2017, while costs continued to fall. The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Global Energy and CO2 Status Report, meanwhile, declares that CO2 emissions grew 1.4% to a historic high of 32.5 gigatons over the same period.

In its report titled, ‘The State of Clean Energy Investment,’ BNEF reports that new investment in renewable energy and energy-smart technologies grew 3% in 2017 to reach US$333.5 billion. This amount funded a record of 160 GW of newly commissioned clean energy capacity. 2017 was thus the year with the second highest renewable energy investment, just 7% short of 2015’s record figure of US$360.3 billion. At the same time, BNEF found that solar costs continued to fall, with utility-scale PV systems 25% cheaper per MW capacity in 2017 than in 2016. Driven by these cost reductions and other factors, global solar investments rose 18% over 2016 levels to US$160.8 billion, the report states. Solar also received the largest proportion of investment, followed by wind and energy-smart technologies. Significant increases in clean energy investment occurred in China, the US, Australia and Mexico, while clean energy investments declined in Japan, Australia and the UK. BNEF also found that clean energy acquisition activity grew 4% to a new record level, while venture capital and private equity investment in clean energy fell 38% to its lowest figure since 2005.

Though global renewable investment rose in 2017, an IEA study reports that CO2 emissions also increased in 2017 after stagnating for three years. In its report titled ‘Global Energy and Co2 Status Report 2017,” IEA finds that emissions grew 1.4% in 2017 to a historic high of 32.5 gigatons. The increase occurred as global energy demand rose by 2.1%, more than twice the previous year’s rate, boosted by global economic growth. Fossil fuels supplied 72% of energy demand growth, while the remaining quarter was met by renewables. Geographically, the IEA notes that China and India accounted for 40% of global energy demand growth, while carbon emissions declined in the US, the UK, Mexico and Japan. The report also shows that improvements in energy efficiency slowed, with global energy intensity declining only 1.7% in 2071, compared average yearly declines 0f 2.3% in the previous three years. The IEA attributes this deceleration to a slowdown in the implementation of more stringent energy efficiency policies as well as to lower energy prices. [The State of Clean Energy Investment] [BNEF Press Release] [Climate Action Programme on BNEF Report] [Global Energy and Co2 Status Report 2017] [IEA Press Release] [Climate Action Programme on IEA Report]

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