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The free market strikes back. Renewables Investment plummets 22% in first quarter of 2013

What the government giveth, the government can take away. So it came to pass that the glory of green investments fell over its peak and started to slide — a slide we hope will continue forthwith with speed until such day that Renewables Actually Work.

Weakest quarter for clean energy investment since 2009

 [Bloomberg] 15 April 2013

Investment worldwide in the first quarter of 2013 was $40.6bn, down 22% on a year earlier, due to a downturn in large wind and solar project financings London and New York, 15 April 2013 – Global investment in clean energy in the first three months of 2013 was lower than in any quarter for the past four years, according to the latest figures from research company Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

2013 Q1 is not marked here (except with a dodgy red star thingy). It s somewhere around 22% below Q1 2012. 🙂 [Graph: Bloomberg]

Remember in the land of warmer-investments, this is just a global pause. It’s the fourth highest first-quarter investment. Ever. (!)

The US leads the way. Europe is following. Australia is too irrelevant to mention.

“Among the key details of the first quarter 2013 data were a 54% year-on-year fall in US clean energy investment to $4.5bn, a 15% setback in the Chinese total to $8.8bn and a 25% drop for Europe to $13.4bn. The rest of Asia, outside India and China, bucked the trend with a 47% jump to a record $10.1bn, led by a surge of investment in Japan to $8.2bn.”

Among different types of investment, the largest decline was in the asset finance of utility-scale projects such as wind farms and solar parks – this fell 34% to $19.3bn.

Why the fall? …  Capricious governments (It doesn’t help that Mother Nature is not making “free” energy easy-to-get)

Policy uncertainty played a part in limiting asset finance in the early months of this year – in particular, wind farm investment halted in the US during the winter because a key incentive, the Production Tax Credit, appeared to be heading for expiry at the end of 2012. Ultimately, the PTC was extended but the uncertainty about its status had already front-loaded financings and construction of US wind into calendar years 2011 and 2012. Relatively little new wind project construction is expected in 2013…

If only those renewables had been competitive, it could have been so different.

Spain loses 96% of it’s renewables investments

Europe saw a decline in small-scale project investment, fuelled partly by the sharp falls in solar technology costs. Nevertheless, Germany and the UK experienced modest growth in overall investment in Q1 2013, of 8% and 1% respectively compared to a year earlier. Germany reached $3.9bn in the first quarter thanks in part to the Butendiek transaction, and the UK figure was $1.8bn. Investment in Spain in Q1 2013 was less than $100m, down 96% on the first quarter of 2012. Italy and France also dropped off, reaching $1.5bn (down 61%) and $0.9bn (down 33%) respectively.

Total new investment in clean energy worldwide in 2012 was $268.7bn (*), down from a peak of $302.3bn in 2011 but still more than five times the total in 2004.

Good news, if the current trend continues we’ll only waste 200 billion dollars on renewables in 2013. But we might get lucky…

Read the whole article: Bloomberg


H/t GWPF, and Pierre

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