Investment in the UK’s renewable energy industry fell by 40% in 2019 to £4.1bn – its lowest level since 2007 – according to figures released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).
The lower investment in the UK was a factor in Europe falling behind the United States in 2019. A total of $54.3bn (£41.2bn) was invested in renewables capacity last year, representing a fall of 7% on 2018. Spain was the biggest investor in Europe with its figure of $8.4bn (£6.4bn) 25% higher than 2018 and its highest annual figure since 2011. Germany saw a fall of 30%, reaching its lowest level since 2004. Global investment hit £216.6bn.
The £2.1bn 432MW Neart na Gaoithe wind farm reaching financial close in Q4 2019 was noted as being a bright spot for the UK and a factor in global offshore wind investment rising 19% year-on-year to £22.9bn. Wind itself led the way for overall renewable energy capacity investment in 2019 with onshore and offshore accounting for $138.2bn (£105.7bn) globally, followed by solar at $131.1bn (£100.2bn). BNEF noted that falling costs meant that wind and solar were likely to have seen around 180GW of capacity added last year.
Tom Harries, Head of Wind Research at BNEF, commented: “Offshore wind developers in China brought forward 15 projects to beat a scheduled expiry of that country’s feed-in tariff. We expect the sector’s global momentum to continue in 2020, with the focus on gigawatt-scale projects in the British North Sea and the first commercial arrays off the U.S. East Coast.”