Offshore wind hits new investment high

WORLDWIDE: Total investments in offshore wind reached an all-time high but could not help buoy the total spent on clean energy in 2016, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

Dong Energy's 1.2GW Hornsea Project One was the largest offshore wind investment in 2016
Dong Energy's 1.2GW Hornsea Project One was the largest offshore wind investment in 2016

Globally, investment in offshore wind totalled $29.9bn in 2016, up 40% on a year earlier.

Dong Energy's final investment decision to build the 1.2GW Hornsea Project One project for $5.7bn was the largest investment of the year.

While Europe saw the vast majority in offshore wind investments - $25.6bn — there was also a $4.1bn contribution from China.

"New markets are set to open up in North America and Taiwan," added BNEF chief executive Jon Moore.

But the growth in offshore wind funding was unable to halt a slide in global clean energy investments, according to BNEF's data.

Worldwide clean energy investments fell 18% compared to 2015 to $287.5bn.

Investment in Asia-Pacifc's clean energy industry — including India and China — fell 26% to $135bn, while the US saw a 7% decline to $58.6bn.

Europe witnessed a small 3% increase to $70.9bn. BNEF put this down to the strong offshore wind industry and the $1.3bn investment in Fosen's 1GW wind-energy complex in Norway.

"Among developing nations, many saw investment slip as projects that won capacity in renewable energy auctions during 2016 did not secure finance before the year-end. Investment in South Africa fell 76% to $914m, while that in Chile dropped 80% to $821m, Mexico fell 59% to $1bn and Uruguay 74% to $429m. Brazil edged down 5% to $6.8bn," BNEF said.

"Even though overall investment in clean energy was down in 2016, the total capacity installed was not. Estimates from BNEF's analysis teams are that a record 70GW of solar were added last year, up from 56GW in 2015, plus 56.5GW of wind, down from 63GW but the second-highest figure ever," the analyst firm added.

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