Offshore wind spending reaches record high in 2020

A surge of offshore wind farm finance in 2020 set an all time record for the sector, smashing the old benchmark by more than 56%, new findings show

Investment in offshore wind hit record levels in 2020, according to BloombergNEF
Investment in offshore wind hit record levels in 2020, according to BloombergNEF

Analysis published today by BloombergNEF, shows a surge in offshore wind farm investments last year, surpassing 2019’s record investment level.

This total includes the largest deal ever in the sector’s history with $8.3 billion paid out for financing of the 2400MW Dogger Bank A & B Dogger Bank A & B (2400MW) Offshoreoff Yorkshire, UK, Europe Click to see full details project in the UK.

Despite an overall 6% slump in combined onshore and offshore investment in 2020 ($142.7 billion), falling capital costs mean more capacity can be built. 

Investments made in 2020 enable 73GW of wind capacity to come online in the future, according to BloombergNEF – another new record. 

The analysts have not provided a figure for onshore wind-only investment last year.

Jon Moore, chief executive of BloombergNEF, said that despite the coronavirus pandemic holding back “some projects”, overall investment in wind and solar proved to be “robust”.

He added: “Policy ambition is clearly rising as more countries and businesses commit to net-zero targets, and green stimulus programs are starting to make their presence felt.

“Some 54% of 2016 emissions are now under some form of net-zero commitment, up from 34% at the start of last year. This should drive increasing investment in the coming years.”

According to the figures, 2020 marks the second-highest annual figure ever for investments in renewable energy. Last year's total of $303.5 billion is just shy of the record set in 2017 ($313.3 billion), while 2020 was the seventh consecutive year totalling more than $250 billion.

Europe accounted for the biggest slice of renewable energy investment with $166.2 billion (up 67% on last year), China at $134.8 billion (down 12%) and the U.S. at $85.3 billion (down 11%). 

In Europe, renewables capacity investment in the UK rose 177% to $16.2 billion and 221% in the Netherlands to $14.3 billion, Spain was up 16% at $10 billion, France 38% up at $7.3 billion and Germany 14% up at $7.1 billion. 

According to BloombergNEF, Europe’s figures were driven by a record year for electric vehicle sales and marked the best year in renewable energy investment since 2012.

Solar also shined in 2020, with overall solar capacity investment up 12% on 2019 at $148.6 billion. In 2020, the largest enver single solar park also secured funding at a cost of $1.1 billion – the 2GW Al Dhafrah in the United Arab Emirates.

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