Investment picks up on wind rush

By Staff Reporter

Global clean energy investment surged to $US63. 6bn in the second quarter of 2014, up 33% compared to the first quarter and 9% compared to Q2 2013, according to the latest authoritative figures from research company Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Venture capital and private equity investment in clean energy companies totalled $US1. 6bn in the second quarter of this year, up 42% from Q1 and 36% from Q2 2013, and also the highest figure for any quarter since Q2 2012.

Even venture capital and private equity, which have been depressed in prior quarters, have seen the green shoots of recovery in deal volume. “We are expecting the full year figures for 2014 to show a clear rebound in global investment in clean energy.

Looking at investment by asset class, asset finance of utility-scale projects such as wind farms, solar parks and small hydro dams totalled $US38. 2bn in the second quarter of 2014,  up from $US22. 8bn in Q1, but down slightly from $US38. 5bn in Q2 2013.

Geographically, the biggest contributions to the bounce in clean energy investment in Q2 came from China, which committed $US19. 3bn, more than double the Q1 figure and up 16% on the same quarter a year ago; the US, which invested $US10. 6bn, up 34% from Q1 and 2% above another strong figure in Q2 2013; and Europe, which invested $US14bn, up 26% on Q1 and 47% on a weak Q2 last year.

The stand-out deal of the quarter was the $US3. 8bn financing of the 600MW Gemini offshore wind farm in the North Sea, off the coast of the Netherlands, the largest investment decision ever in renewable energy (excluding large hydro-electric).

Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said: "The past two years have seen investment decline by over 20% from its 2011 peak, driven equally by the European fiscal crisis, policy uncertainty and plummeting costs for renewable energy equipment.

In its Q3 2014 investment figures, to be published in early October, Bloomberg New Energy Finance plans to make some revisions to its historical figures for clean energy investment in 2000-13, following a root-and-branch checking of financing statistics against those for installed capacity.

Public market investment in the equity of quoted, specialist clean energy companies was $US3. 8bn in Q2, up 6% on Q1 but 8% below the second quarter of 2013.

Among the main countries for overall investment, excluding China and the US, Japan saw a slight reduction in Q2 commitments, to $US7. 7bn, from $US7. 9bn in Q1, but this was still up on $US7. 2bn in Q2 2013; the UK saw investment slip to $US2. 1bn, from $US3. 2bn in Q1 2014 and $US2. 2bn in Q2 2013; and Germany provided finance of $US2bn, down from $US2. 3bn in Q1 this year but up from $US1. 3bn in Q2 last year.

Now, what we are seeing is the new competitiveness of renewable energy winning through, driving a surge in demand. "The new investment upswing is broad-based, with activity rising across wind and solar, large-scale and small-scale projects, and covering most of the big markets.

Read more here: Business Spectator


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