A clean energy investment surge in 2014

Wind Turbines at sunset

By James Noble

January 15, 2015

After a three-year decline, clean energy investment around the world jumped 16 percent to $310 billion in 2014, a number just shy of the record amount of investment set in 2011.

Annual data published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows strong performance in many of the main centres for clean energy deployment, with China up 32 percent to a record $89.5 billion, the U.S. up 8 percent to $51.8 billion, Japan up 12 percent to $41.3 billion and India up 14 percent to $7.9 billion. Europe, meanwhile, edged up one percent to $66 billion.

Looking at the different categories of clean energy investment last year, asset finance of renewable energy projects was by far the largest, at $170.7 billion. There were no fewer than seven European billion-dollar offshore wind projects and many big solar and onshore wind projects around the world were also financed in 2014.

The second-largest category of investment was small-distributed capacity projects of less than 1 MW, which were predominantly rooftop solar. This category saw $73.5 billion committed in 2014, up 34 percent.

Canada, for its part, saw investment jump 26 percent to $9 billion. British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec received the majority of investment, due to supportive energy policies put in place by their provincial governments.

The lion’s share of clean energy investment in Canada went into the wind and solar sectors, with the remainder going into run-of-river hydro and biomass projects. As a result, the clean energy sector – including manufacturing, energy efficiency and biofuels – accounted for more direct Canadian jobs than jobs in the oil sands.