Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018, a report jointly prepared by the UN Environment's Economy Division, Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, aims at illustrating changes in the global energy map. It concentrates on renewable power and fuels, particularly wind, solar, biomass and waste, biofuels, geothermal and marine projects, and small hydro-electric dams of less than 50MW. The central message of the report is clear – 2017 was the eighth in a row that global investment in renewables exceeded US$200 billion. The renewable energy market continues to make remarkable progress, and since 2004 the world has invested US$2.9 trillion in green energy sources. This unprecedented growth was driven by steep reductions in capital and generating costs. Especially solar power rose to record prominence. In 2017, 98 gigawatts of new solar power projects were installed worldwide. Solar power plants accounted for 38% of all the net new generating capacity added (renewable, fossil fuel and nuclear). Over half of new global solar capacity in 2017 was generated in China.
The leading location by far for renewable energy investment in 2017 was China, accounting for 45% of the global total. The report reveals the powerful build-up of activity in renewables, hitting records in 2015 and 2017. There were sharp increases in renewable energy investment also in Mexico (of 810%), Sweden (of 127%) and Australia (of 147%). However, Europe saw a significant drop in renewable energy investment. It’s share of world investment fell to just 15% in 2017, the lowest ever recorded. Investment in renewable energy fell 14% in France, 35% in Germany and 65% in the UK. The India’s investments oscillating in the $6-14 billion range since 2010 have not reached the sort of levels that would be required for that country to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious goals target of 100GW of solar by 2022. Renewable energy investment in Japan fell 28% to $13.4 billion in 2017. Overall, 12.1% of global power came from renewable energy sources. Thus, UNEP concludes that regardless of a record 157 gigawatts of renewable power commissioned in 2017, energy transition needs to accelerate and be complemented by strong private finance that can make sure this global momentum continues.