Clean Energy Investment Rebounds in 2014

January 14, 2015 By Karen Henry

energy investment energy manageGlobal clean energy investment rebounded strongly in 2014, with investments totalling $310 billion, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Boosted by demand for large-scale and rooftop solar PV and by the financing of a record $19.4 billion of offshore wind projects, clean energy investment in 2014 was up 16 percent from a revised $268.1 billio in 2013, and more than five times the $60.2 billion attained in 2004.

The jump in investment in 2014 reflected strong performances in many of the main centers for clean energy deployment, with China up 32 percent, the US up 8 percent, Japan up 12 percent, Canada up 26 percent, Brazil up 88 percent, India up 14 percent, and South Africa up 5 percent. Europe, despite the flurry in offshore wind, edged only 1 percent higher.

Asset finance of renewable energy projects was the largest category of investment at $170.7 billion, followed by small distributed capacity—projects of less than 1 MW—at $73.5 billion committed in 2014. Renewable energy projects included billion-dollar offshore wind projects and many big solar and onshore wind projects. Small distributed capacity consisted predominantly of rooftop solar.

Government and corporation R&D totaled $29 billion, while asset finance of energy smart technologies such as smart meters came in at $16.8 billion.

New equity raised for clean energy companies on public markets hit a seven-year high in 2014, at $18.7 billion, up 52 percent on the year.

Venture capital and private equity investment in clean energy was $4.8 billion in 2014, up 16 percent on the year, but still far below the $12.3 billion record set in 2008. The largest VC/PE deals last year were a $250 million expansion round for US lithium-ion battery firm Boston-Power, a $250 million expansion round for US solar installer Sunnova Energy, and a $150 million late-stage VC round for US residential solar financier Sunrun.

Solar made up almost half of total clean energy investment in 2014, up 25 percent on 2013. Investment in wind rose 11 percent, and energy smart technologies, including smart grid, power storage, efficiency and electrified transport, were up 10 percent.

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