Clean energy investments pick up pace in Q3

Total investment tops $66bn, beating Q2 and the same period last year, a new report shows.

Global clean energy investments topped $66 billion in the third quarter this year and are on pace to surpass 2016’s total for the year, according to a report published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance .

At $66.9 billion, clean energy investments beat the $47.8 billion total for Q3 in 2016. Combined with 2017’s Q2 total of $64.9 billion, this year is on track to beat 2016’s yearly total of $287.5 billion. However, it’s unlikely to break 2015’s record year of $348.5 billion.

Large-scale wind investments gave clean energy a boost in Q3. Seven projects ranging from $600 million to $4.5 billion increased capital committed to clean energy between July and September by 40 percent compared with the same period last year.

The projects were spread between markets in the US, Mexico, the UK, Germany, China and Australia. The largest investment in Q3 came from American Electric Power, which backed the 2GW Wind Catcher project in Oklahoma with $4.5 billion.

“Wind Catcher is an example of a regulated utility in a wind-rich area of the US taking advantage of federal tax credits to build a project that will produce electricity at below the cost of its existing coal and gas generating plants.”

Whether the US wind sector will continue to lead the way is a different story. The federal production tax credit for wind is scheduled to reduce by 40 percent next year and 60 percent in 2019.

Other top wind financings this quarter include Orsted (formerly DONG Energy) and its decision to back the 1.4GW Hornsea Two offshore wind farm, in the North Sea, with $3.7 billion. There were also two offshore wind projects in China priced at $2.1 billion and an onshore project in Mexico that cost $657 million.

Overall, China was the most active market in the world for clean energy – accounting for $23.8 billion of investments, including project finance and venture capital or private equity capital. The other markets that made up the top five were: the US at $14.8 billion, the UK at $4.6 billion, Mexico at $2.8 billion and Germany at $2.4 billion.