Clean energy campaign under threat, as investments slump
The United Nations-led campaign for clean energy to save the ozone layer could be under threat, as indications emerged that the global clean energy investment slumped in the first quarter of 2015 to its lowest level in two years.
The investment trend, according to a new report by the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), was on the downward trend last quarter, with about 15 per cent drop to $50.5 billion (about N10 trillion) between January to March, 2015.
Meanwhile, the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) as assured that it would implement the $4 million Global Environment Facility (GEF) sponsored project aimed at promoting clean technologies and renewable energy in Nigeria by June this year.
The BNEF however traced the investment slide to the big markets such as China, Europe, and Brazil which saw a slowdown in Final Investment Decisions on clean energy related projects.
The report noted that fewer “large-ticket transactions” took place over the first quarter than a year earlier, with financing for wind projects and public market equity raisings by clean energy companies “particularly subdued” over the quarter.
However, as BNEF stated that, “there were some bright spots,” including the rise of small-scale solar worldwide, and overall renewable energy project investment in South Africa.
Investment surged to $3.1 billion in the first quarter in South Africa, up “from almost nothing in the same quarter a year earlier.” A clean energy economics analyst at BNEF, Luke Mills, said: “Since 2012, South Africa has emerged as one of the most important centres for clean energy investment, as it seeks to expand power capacity and take advantage of its sunshine and wind resources,”.
“The first quarter saw the financing of a series of large projects in solar thermal, wind and PV that won through in the latest round of the country’s auction programme.”
India also saw an increase in clean energy investment, rising 59 per cent to $1.6 billion in the first quarter. However, the same could not be said for its regional neighbours, with investment in China falling 24 per cent to $11 billion, and the rest of Asia-Oceania slipping 15 per cent to $11.2 billion.
Even Japan, which has seen relatively secure figures over the last few quarters and a strong boom in its national small-scale solar industry, dropped 3 per cent, with only $8.8 billion for the quarter.
The United States edged up 2 per cent to $9.6 billion, but Brazil slipped a whopping 62 per cent and Europe dropped 30 per cent. The rest of the Americas dropped 17 per cent to $2 billion. Commenting on the Nigeria’s renewable energy programme, The National Coordinator, GEF/UNDP
Energy Efficiency Programme in Nigeria, Mr Etiosa Uyigue, said that the project would promote low carbon energy solutions in the country. “GEF is sponsoring the project with about $4.4million dollars but we are looking at counterpart funding from private investment.
“This is because for every GEF project, there must be a counterpart funding from the government or any other investor. For the counterpart in this project, we are looking at $150 million from private investment.
“This is to serve as catalyst to private investment in the renewable energy sector within the next five years in terms of generating electricity,’’ he said.