First half of 2021 sees record investment in renewable energy

More money was invested in renewable energy in the first six months of 2021 than the first half of any other year, according to tracking by BloombergNEF. But analysts still say “immediate” funding is needed to reach global net-zero emissions goals.

Globally, $174 billion of new investment was made in renewable energy capacity, equity raised by specialist companies, and related areas, like storage, through June – a 2% increase from the same period last year. The total was, however, 7% less than the record set for a six-month period in the second half of 2020.

Analysts noted that a decline in investment in new renewable energy projects was offset by record private ($28.2 billion, +509%) and public ($5.7 billion, +111%) fundraising.

“Renewable energy investment has withstood the effects of the global pandemic, in contrast to other sectors of the energy economy where we have seen unprecedented volatility,” said Albert Cheung, head of analysis at BloombergNEF. “However, a 1.8% year-on-year increase is nothing to write home about. An immediate acceleration is needed if we are to get on track for global net zero.”

Solar

Investment in solar projects reached a record $78.9 billion in the first half of 2021, according to the report. China saw $7.7 billion invested in solar projects in 1H 2021 while U.S. large-scale project investment totaled $11.7 billion. Analysts noted limited available data for small-scale solar investment, primarily in Europe, but still signaled healthy growth.

Wind

Wind investment in the first half of 2021 declined to $58 billion compared to $85 billion during the same period last year. Chinese investment totaled $21 billion in 1H 2021 while Finland became the top onshore market, part of Europe’s continued strength in the market.