Even Under Trump, U.S. Renewable Investment Hit a Record in 2019

Marco Green
January 19, 2020

Although China is still the biggest investor in renewables, the amount declined by 8 percent to $83.4 billion a year ago.

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Taking both onshore and offshore projects together, the global wind sector topped the renewable energy financing rankings previous year reaching $132.2bn worldwide, up six per cent from 2018, according to BNEF.

The US was the second-largest investing country in renewable energy capacity, at Dollars 55.5 billion, up 28% on 2018.

"It's notable that in the third year of the Trump presidency, which has not been particularly supportive of renewables, USA clean energy investment set a new record by a country mile", said Ethan Zindler, head of Americas for BNEF.

Bloomberg's research says the USA surge comes out of wind and solar companies that were rushing to qualify for federal tax credits before they are taken off the table later this year.

Brazil featured a similar phenomenon in 2019.

China was yet again the biggest investor in renewables, at United States dollars 83.4 billion in 2019, but this was 8% down on 2018 and the lowest since 2013. Green energy investment soared 74% through the year, rebuking climate-skeptic President Jair Bolsonaro, according to BNEF. Europe sank to third place, posting a 7% decrease in green energy spending.

The headline number, seen as an indicator of progress in the global climate fight, remains under its 2017 peak of $315 billion. Even that level is far below what is likely needed to meet goals set under the Paris climate agreement, which targets the global temperature increase since the start of the industrial revolution to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Clean energy investment in the United States surged to a fresh record of $55.5 billion a year ago, despite the government's attempts to roll back supportive policies, a report showed on Thursday.

"With the world's growing focus on the global challenges of climate change, we recognise and understand the need to play a leadership role in helping build a more sustainable future", said Douglas Sabo, vice president and head of corporate responsibility and sustainability at Visa Inc. Earth's oceans were the warmest they've been since research began in the 1950s, according to a study published January 13 in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences. The figure was nearly $2bn higher than the previous offshore wind financing record which was reached in 2016, BNEF said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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