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500 billion, renewables grow even with the pandemic

According to Bnef exceeded 500 billion dollars in 2020, an increase of 9 percent over the previous year. Thanks to large solar plants, offshore wind and electric mobility.

Large solar plants, offshore wind, but also electric mobility and storage, are driving investment in the energy transition. And 2020, despite the economic disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, saw a 9 percent increase over the previous year, touching a record $501.3 billion. These are the data – rather enthusiastic – released by an analysis on investments in energy transition compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), according to which Europe would represent the largest share of global investments with 166.2 billion dollars (+67 percent). This is followed by China at 134.8 billion (-12 percent) and the United States with 85.3 billion (-11 percent).

The analysis on investment in 2020
“Last year, we saw a dramatic revaluation of stocks in renewable energy, electric vehicles, fuel cells, batteries and other related areas,” writes Angus McCrone in an editorial accompanying the analysis.

In fact, the analysis shows that as much as $303.5 billion was invested in new renewable energy installations, up 2 percent from the previous year, thanks to the startup of large solar plants and a $50 billion surge in offshore wind. Investment in electric mobility and charging infrastructure also grew significantly: $139 billion, up 28 percent.
“The coronavirus pandemic has held back progress on some projects, but overall investment in wind and solar has been robust and electric vehicle sales have increased more than expected,” said Jon Moore, Bnef’s chief executive officer.

Home installation of energy-efficient heat pumps also grew, up 12 percent, while investment in storage technologies is at the same level as the previous year. Notable deals include $2.8 billion raised by Chinese battery manufacturer Contemporary amperex technology, $846 million by U.S. fuel cell company Plug Power and $777 million by Chinese photovoltaic manufacturer Ja solar technology. Investments that are undoubtedly indicative of market trends.

Trends for 2021, new records for solar and wind power
If in 2020 there was, according to Bnef but confirmations also come from Iea, yet another record for solar installations that touches 132 GW, for this year it is expected that it could reach 150 GW, if not even 194 GW. To say that the European outlook is more cautious, as shown in a report on photovoltaics published last year and which showed that to reach a 100 percent renewables scenario, Europe would have to increase its photovoltaic capacity from 117 GW (of 2018) to over 630 GW by 2025 and 1.94 TW by 2050.

If we look instead at estimates from 2019 – a year in which installations nearly doubled – 2020 would have touched 24 GW, certainly not enough to cover the gap between now and 2025.

“Clean energy generation and electric transportation are seeing strong inflows, but you need to see further increases in spending as costs come down,” confirmed Albert Cheung, head of analysis at Bnef. “Technologies like electric heating, carbon capture storage (CCS) and hydrogen are attracting only a fraction of the investment they will need in the 2010s to help keep emissions in check. We’re talking trillions a year if we’re going to meet our climate goals.”

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