Wind megaprojects boost global clean energy investment

16 October 2017

Sian Crampsie

Global clean energy investment in 2017 is likely to rise over levels seen in 2016 thanks to a number of wind ‘megaprojects’.

Seven giant wind projects, each costing between $600 million and $4.5 billion, and spread between the USA, Mexico, the UK, Germany, China and Australia, have helped to boost clean energy investment in the third quarter of 2017, according to the latest analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

According to BNEF, the 3Q 2017 investment levels mean that investment in 2017 so far is running 2 per cent above that in the same period of last year, suggesting that the annual total is likely to finish up close to, or a little ahead of, 2016’s figure of $287.5 billion.

This year looks highly unlikely, however, to beat the record of $348.5 billion reached in 2015, BNEF said.

BNEF says that seven large-scale wind farms helped global clean energy investment to jump 40 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2017. They include Invenergy’s 2 GW Wind Catcher project in Oklahoma, USA, in which American Electric Power invested $4.5 billion, and Dong Energy’s 1.4 GW, $3.7 billion Hornsea offshore wind farm in the UK North Sea.

Other major wind farm investments in the third quarter include Northland Power’s financing of the 252MW Deutsche Bucht array in German waters, at $1.6 billion, and two offshore wind farms in China – Guohua Dongtai and Zhoushan Putuo. Two other projects – the 424 MW Zuma Reynosa III onshore wind farm in Mexico and the 450 MW Coopers Gap onshore wind project in Queensland, Australia – also impacted the 3Q data.

Breaking the 3Q 2017 figures down by type of investment, asset finance of utility-scale renewable energy projects, such as those above, jumped 72 per cent globally compared to the same quarter of last year, reaching $54.3 billion. Small-scale project investment (solar systems of less than 1 MW) came to $10.8 billion in the latest quarter, up 9 per cent.

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