A “colossal” six months for offshore wind finance kept global renewable energy investment on an upward track in the first half of 2020, despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, said research group BloombergNEF.
Finance for wind at sea hit $35bn in the first half of the year, up more than fourfold on the same period in 2019 and higher than last year’s 12-month total of $31.9bn, according to latest BNEF data.
The massive spike offshore outweighed declines in investment for onshore wind (-21%), solar (-12%) and biomass projects to leave total renewable energy financing 5% ahead of the same stage in 2019 at $132.4bn.
Albert Cheung, head of analysis at BNEF, commented: “We expected to see Covid-19 affecting renewable energy investment in the first half, via delays in the financing process and to some auction programs. There are signs of that in both solar and onshore wind, but the overall global figure has proved amazingly resilient – thanks to offshore wind.”
The roster of 28 final investment decisions to contribute to the huge first-half investment tally included a record for the 1.5GW Vattenfall Hollandse Zuid off the Netherlands, which Vattenfall will build off the Netherlands for an estimated $3.9bn.
Other included the 1.1GW Seagreen off the UK ($3.8bn), 600MW Changfang Xidao off Taiwan ($3.6bn) and almost 1GW of French offshore wind at Fecamp and Saint-Brieuc, for $5.4bn between them.
Tom Harries, head of wind analysis at BNEF, said: “Offshore wind is benefitting from the 67% reduction in levelised costs achieved since 2012, and to the performance of the latest, giant turbines. But the first half of this year also owed a lot to a rush in China to finance and build, in order to take advantage of a feed-in tariff before it expires at the end of 2021.
“I expect a slowdown in offshore wind investment globally in the second half, with potentially a new spike early next year.”