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Global “clean” energy spending falls 18% in 2016

January 16, 2017

By Paul Homewood




It is not clear why Trump, only elected in November, or Brexit, which has not happened yet or had any impact at all on UK energy policies, have had any effect on global investment in renewable. But it is the failed Independent that we are talking about here!


Global investments in renewable power dropped the most on record in 2016 as demand in China and Japan faltered.

Worldwide spending on clean energy fell 18 percent from 2015’s record high to $287.5 billion, according to a report Thursday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. It was the first decline since 2013 and comes as environmental policies face pressure from populist movements that have fuelled the rise of Donald Trump, the UK Independence Party and others.

Even as spending ebbs, the amount of wind and solar energy connected to power grids around the world continues to surge, gaining 19 percent in 2016, according to New Energy Finance. That’s in part because investors are getting more bang for their buck as competition and technological advances have dramatically reduced prices for photovoltaic panels and wind turbines.



Spending in China tumbled 26 percent to $87.8 billion from an all-time high in 2015. The slump comes as China’s electricity demand stagnates and the government reduces subsides for wind and solar power, lowering demand in a market accounting for about one-third of all global clean energy spending.

“China is really the driver of clean energy investment,” Abraham Louw, a New Energy Finance analyst, said in an interview. Spending in Japan slumped 43 percent to $22.8 billion.


With spending in the US also down by 7%, it is only Europe that is keeping the whole shebang on the road, enabled by massive subsidies.

This report gives the lie to repeated spin from the renewable lobby about how China has been ramping up investment in wind and solar.

The Independent tries to take comfort in investment this year:

Developers are forecast to build a record 134 gigawatts of wind and solar in 2017, as rising demand in India, the Middle East and South American offsets the slowdown in China, according to New Energy Finance. Yet competition is expected to continue driving down prices. While BNEF hasn’t completed its 2017 forecast, McCrone said investments this year appear likely to be on par with 2016 levels.


As ever, we are fed large looking numbers that most people don’t understand.

134GW, assuming a loading of 15%, would only produce 176TWh a year, or 0.7% of last year’s global electricity consumption.

Given that generation has been growing by more than that each year recently, renewable energy won’t even keep up with increasing demand.

  1. Ian Magness permalink
    January 16, 2017 5:24 pm

    I love the sneering references to “populism” in these articles. The millions and millions who voted for UKIP, Brexit and now Trump are dismissed as stupid ignoramuses who shouldn’t really have been allowed a vote. There is also an explicit assumption that, in time, we will all come to our senses, believe what they tell us and vote the way they want again in future. Then, of course, the global warmist bandwagon will be firmly on the tracks again.
    Or will it really…

  2. January 16, 2017 5:30 pm

    Of course it is pure propaganda to call it “clean|” energy. Most of it is very dirty when a holistic view is taken.

    It is also ridiculous to claim that the cost of wind turbines has fallen dramatically. That may be the case with solar panels, but there have been no technological advances in wind turbines and prices have not fallen significantly.

  3. A C Osborn permalink
    January 16, 2017 5:44 pm

    So they are lamenting throwing away only $287.5 BILLION last year on worthless Generation.
    For a clear indication of what these people want read this

  4. Stosh permalink
    January 16, 2017 5:58 pm

    Truly amazing considering Brexit has not yet been implemented and Trump is still POTU
    S – ELECT. Imagine what will happen when both are actually in charge of the policy.

  5. January 16, 2017 6:14 pm

    Green energy investment is largely dependant on political subsidy. if you supp with the politicians it is best use a long spoon. Hence this downturn.
    Roll on green energy scepticism! The more we can put egg on the faces of the politicians the better. Examples abound as fuel bills escalate.

  6. tom0mason permalink
    January 16, 2017 6:17 pm

    So let’s just take a snapshot of the UK electricity figures as reported by Gridwatch right now —

    Demand 49.56GW
    Frequency 49.981Hz

    CCGT 26.13GW

    Wind 0.71GW
    (1.43%) **********************

    Coal 9.53GW

    Nuclear 6.78GW

    French ICT 1.00GW

    Dutch ICT 0.95GW

    Irish ICT -0.46GW

    E-W ICT -0.46GW

    Solar not currently supplying as someone let the sun go out 😉

    • January 16, 2017 6:50 pm

      ‘Clean energy’ must include everything (e.g. oil), not just electricity generation 🙂
      Add in the other numbers and it looks even worse for so-called renewables.

    • Joe Public permalink
      January 16, 2017 7:00 pm

      A picture is worth a 1,000 words.

      Gas & coal generating at peak capacity; 4x nuclear generators offline.

      • Joe Public permalink
        January 16, 2017 8:28 pm

        Euan Mearns points out there was 1.3GW of Hydro, 1.4GW from pumped storage plus OCGT running!

        And it’s a mild evening.

  7. Russ Wood permalink
    January 17, 2017 1:42 pm

    And when a power supply company – ESKOM in South Africa – speaks truth about the costs of ‘renewables’, then the political crowd turn against the speaker!


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