Lion’s share of $7.7 trillion new energy capacity will be spent on renewables by 2030, led by Asia

Clare Saxon Ghauri
2 July 2014

LONDON: Of the total investment in new energy capacity that is expected by 2030 to meet the surging demand of a fast-growing global economy, a huge 66% will go on renewables, new data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) shows.

BNEF’s 2030 Market Outlook estimates a total of US$5.1 trillion will be spent globally on renewables, a figure which makes up the lion’s share of the US$7.7 trillion that is predicted to be invested across all new energy capacity over the coming decades.

Global renewable energy technology growth will be led by rooftop solar PV, which is forecast to claim a fifth of all new energy capacity and investment up to 2020. 

This investment in renewables across the world is dominated by the Asia-Pacific region, which is calculated to make up over half of the net new power capacity that will be added by 2030, with US$2.5 trillion invested.

China is an obvious source of the region’s weighty investment. BNEF forecasts China will invest 72% of its US$2 trillion total new energy capacity on renewables, as it adds a net 1.4TW of new generating capacity between now and 2030 to deal with a doubling of power demand.

Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group, said: "The declared 'war on pollution' by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is a huge boost for China to continue its leadership in addressing fossil fuel issues. Investing in renewable energy is definitely a major solution. Already a leader at the global level in investing in cleaner energy, China is well positioned to lead the third industrial revolution by not only increasing its investment in renewables but designing smarter infrastructure, green industrialization and consumer products that are all aligned to be part of the clean revolution." 

Also claiming a large portion of Asia’s power generation capacity is India, which BNEF projects to quadruple by 2030. Of this growth, most will come from utility-scale solar, with onshore wind and hydro power following close behind. Analysts predict total renewables investment in India will surge to US$477 billion.

Milo Sjardin, Head of Asia Pacific, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in a press statement: "The period to 2030 is going to see spectacular growth in solar in this [Asia Pacific] region, with nearly 800GW of rooftop and utility-scale PV added. This will be driven by economics, not subsidies ? our analysis suggests that solar will be fully competitive with other power sources by 2020, only six years from now."

The rest of the planet's renewables capacity to 2030 is split between the Americas with US$816 billion spent, Europe with US$967 billion, and other countries including those in the Middle East and Africa, which amount to a total of US$818 billion, according to BNEF’s 2030 Market Outlook.

Published every year, BNEF's analysis is contributed to by more than 65 experts from around the world. Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, commented: "This country-by-country, technology-by-technology forecast of power market investment is more bullish on renewable energy’s future share of total generation than some of the other major forecasts, largely because we have a more bullish view of continuing cost reductions. What we are seeing is global CO2 emissions on track to stop growing by the end of next decade, with the peak only pushed back because of fast-growing developing countries, which continue adding fossil fuel capacity as well as renewables."

Although BNEF is quick to point out fossil fuels retain the biggest share of power generation by 2030 with 44%, this is down from last year's 64% share. This reduction in fossils also contrasts to the growth that will be seen by solar PV and wind, which will have a combined share of global generation rising from 3% last year to 16% in 2030.

Read an overview of BNEF’s 2030 Market Outlook

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By Clare Saxon

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