World Bank finds cash moving to renewables

Solar investments led the pack, climbing 70 percent above the last five-year average.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  June 14, 2016 at 8:58 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 14 (UPI) -- Investments in renewable energy made up more than half of all private investments last year, signaling a low-carbon shift is under way, the World Bank said.

A report from the bank finds global private investments held relatively steady from 2014 to total $111.6 billion last year. Investments in renewable energy, however, were higher in 2015 than during the past five years.

"Solar energy investments climbed 72 percent higher than the last five-year average, while renewables attracted nearly two-thirds of investments with private participation," the bank said in a statement.

According to its breakdown, the World Bank found South Africa and Morocco led for African investments in renewable energy, Chile led in the Americas and China led the Asian market. By sector, total investments in solar were $9.4 billion, $9.4 billion for wind, $2.9 billion for hydroelectric projects and $1.3 billion for geothermal energy.

An April report from the International Energy Agency on electricity trends across the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development and found an increase of 77 terawatt-hours of power generated from wind resources from 2014, the largest increase recorded by the Paris-based agency. The majority of the new wind-generated electricity occurred in European members of the OECD.

Conventional energy, meanwhile, moved lower by 30 percent year-on-year to $37.6 billion as the low price of oil curbed the appetite for new spending. Though oil prices are up more than 75 percent from their low point for 2016, the price is still about half what it was two years ago.

Energy investments accounted for about 34 percent of all global private transactions in 2015, though last year it was the transportation sector that took up the most of the capital. Turkey last year closed on two megadeals in the transportation sector, including the $35.6 billion investment in a new airport.

A climate deal reached last year in Paris is aimed at curbing global warming in part by encouraging investments in renewable energy. According to the U.N. Environment Program, however, even if all the commitments under the Paris agreement materialize, emissions levels by 2030 could still potentially lead to a global average temperature increase of more than 3 degrees Celsius.

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