Worldwide capital expenditure (capex) into renewables plant totalled some $226bn in the first half of the year, setting a new record for investment as the sector rose to meet growing clean power demand driven by the ongoing energy and climate crises, according to latest calculus from BloombergNEF (BNEF).
Spending on solar developments hit a new high globally of some $120bn, up 33% on the same time-frame in 2021, while wind project finance climbed 16% year-on-year to $84bn, the research house reported in its Renewable Energy Investment Tracker 2H 2022.
“Both [solar and wind] sectors have been challenged recently by rising input costs for key materials such as steel and polysilicon, as well as supply chain disruptions and rising financing costs. Yet, today’s figures indicate that investor appetite is stronger than ever, in part due to the very high energy prices currently being seen in many markets around the world,” said BNEF.
Albert Cheung, BNEF head of analysis, said: “Policy makers are increasingly recognising that renewable energy is the key to unlocking energy security goals and reducing dependence on volatile energy commodities.
“Despite the headwinds presented by ongoing cost inflation and supply chain challenges, demand for clean energy sources has never been higher, and we expect that the global energy crisis will continue to act as an accelerant for the clean energy transition.”
China posted “remarkable” investment growth in both sectors, Cheung highlighted, with the Asian superpower’s capex on large-scale solar reaching $41bn in 1H 2022, up 173% from the year before, while wind saw $58bn in new spending, 107% higher than the same period in 2021.
Nannan Kou, BNEF’s head of China analysis, said: “Green infrastructure is the most important investment area that China is relying on to boost its weak economy in the second half of 2022. The investment growth trend follows China’s strategy to build new renewable generation capacity so that it can replace its existing coal fleet. China is well on track to hit its 1,200GW wind and solar capacity target by 2030.”
Capex on offshore wind plant showed a “stark increase”, according to the BNEF figures, with investment up 52% from the previous year, to $32bn. Offshore wind analysts Chelsea Jean-Michel, said: “Investments in 2022 will flow into projects coming online in the next few years as the offshore wind installed base is set to grow tenfold from 53GW in 2021 to 504GW in 2035.
“Offshore wind projects enable companies and governments to make progress towards their decarbonisation goals at scale. The UK, France and Germany are just a few of the countries that have increased their offshore wind targets in the first half of 2022, signalling further support for investment in the technology.”
On top of the solar and wind project spending boom, BNEF noted that the first half of the year also saw an all-time record for venture capital and private equity investments into renewables and energy storage, with $9.6bn raised, an uptick of 63% on 2021.
One area that saw falling investment was public equity issuances, the research house spotlighted, with initial public offerings for renewable energy companies slumping 65% in 1H 2022, to $10.5bn.