October 6 (Renewables Now) - Global clean energy investment in the third quarter (Q3) of 2017 increased to USD 66.9 billion (EUR 57.22bn), prompting suggestions that the 2017 total may exceed 2016 levels, show figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) released Thursday.
Investment in July-September rose by 40% in annual terms and 3.1% quarter-on-quarter, driven by seven large wind power projects worth between USD 600 million and USD 4.5 billion. According to BNEF, the Q3 total suggests that clean energy investment for 2017 may be close to or slightly higher than the result of USD 287.5 billion in 2016.
The largest category of clean energy investment in Q3 2017 was asset finance of utility-scale renewable energy projects. At USD 54.3 billion, it jumped by 72% in annual terms. All of the biggest projects were in the wind sector, with offshore wind taking the lead.
The most notable transaction in the third quarter was American Electric Power Co Inc’s (NYSE:AEP) USD-4.5-billion investment in Invenergy Renewables LLC’s 2,000-MW Wind Catcher wind farm in Oklahoma. Construction of the 800-turbine complex is already underway and is slated for completion by 2020.
The other top asset finance deal came from Denmark-based Dong Energy's (CPH:DENERG) final investment decision on the 1,386-MW Hornsea Project Two offshore wind farm in the UK, estimated at USD 3.7 billion by its completion in 2022-2023. The third largest clean energy investment in the period was the financing of Canada’s Northland Power Inc (TSE:NPI) of the 252-MW Deutsche Bucht (DeBu) offshore wind project in the German North Sea, worth USD 1.6 billion.
The largest financing deal in the solar sector amounted to USD 460 million and was for First Solar Inc’s (NASDAQ:FSLR) 381-MW California Flats solar project.
Investment in small-scale solar projects of less than 1 MW stood at USD 10.8 billion, up 9% year-on-year.
Venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) funding of clean energy companies slumped by 79% on the year to USD 662 million, marking the weakest quarterly figures since 2005. The biggest deal in this category was a USD-109-million private equity expansion capital round for Indian solar project developer Clean Max Enviro Energy Solutions.
Public markets investment plunged by 63% on an annual basis to USD 1.4 billion. “The weak third quarter figure for public markets investment came ironically despite a strong performance from clean energy stocks [..],” said Abraham Louw, analyst, clean energy economics at BNEF.
According to BNEF’s statistics, Q3 2017 clean energy investment surpassed the 100% annual growth mark in several countries, including Chile, Argentina, Australia and France. Investment in the US and China also increased, while figures for Germany, Japan and India marked a decrease as compared to Q3 2016.
The table below shows clean energy investments (in USD) in major markets, as given by BNEF.
|Market||Q3 2017 investment (in USD)||Y/Y change||Q/Q change|
|S Korea||593 million||+143%||+85%|
(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.855)