Global investment: Beyond renewables

Investment in electric transport, energy storage and hydrogen remained strong in the past year, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Outside the renewables sector, the energy transition also remains promising. Storage benefitted from the world’s biggest batteries being commissioned, including in California and China. Passenger electric vehicles kept electrified transport moving, and hydrogen looks set for strong growth.

There was $3.6 billion committed to energy storage in 2020, according to BloombergNEF figures. China, South Korea and Japan invested the most, with $1.8 billion committed between them. There was record investment in the Americas at $1.2 billion. But after a record year in 2019, investment in Europe slowed to $600 million.

Passenger electric vehicles accounted for the majority of outlays on electrified transport, totalling $118 billion. Although the passenger EV market has quadrupled in size since 2016, the electric bus market has roughly halved in the same time. Commercial EV investment has also fallen sharply, largely due to the decline in upfront costs and changes in developed economies as the market shifts from long-haul, heavy-duty commercial vehicles towards cheaper medium- and light-duty ones.

Investment in hydrogen was nearly $1.5 billion, around 20 percent less than in 2019.