The figure – which represents a 500% increase on 2004 – was boosted by newly competitive large-scale and rooftop solar PV, and a record number of offshore wind projects, according to the report from London-based analyst Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

Solar accounted for almost half of total clean energy investment in 2014, its highest share ever. Last year, solar attracted funding worth $149.6bn, up 25% on 2013.

Investment in wind rose 11% to almost $100bn, while the third-largest sector was energy-smart technologies, including smart grids, power storage, efficiency and electrified transport, with $37.1bn of investment, up 10%.


The 2014 bump reflected strong performances in many of the main centres for clean energy technology, with China up 32% to a record $89.5bn, the US up 8% to $51.8bn and Japan up 12% to $41.3bn.

Some developing nations also saw big increases, with Brazil up 88% and India up 14%.
Europe was relatively stagnant despite the flurry in offshore wind, edging up 1% to $66bn, while investment in the UK grew by 3% to $15.2bn, almost identical figures to Germany.

Italy and Australia were the biggest losers, as investment fell by 60% and 35% respectively.

Interactive map: Global clean energy investments

A red tag indicates a fall in clean energy funding, an amber tag indicates growth below the 16% average, and a green tag denotes above-average investment growth. Click each country’s tag for the stats.

Oil prices

BNEF analyst Michael Liebreich said growth had exceeded expectations in the wake of falling crude oil prices.

“Healthy investment in clean energy may surprise some commentators, who have been predicting trouble for renewables as a result of the oil price collapse since last summer.

“Our answer is that 2014 was too early to see any noticeable effect on investment, and anyway the impact of cheaper crude will be felt much more in road transport than in electricity generation.”

That could spell trouble for carmakers and their electric vehicle sales, which enjoyed a record 2014, quadrupling sales in the UK alone. 

 Brad Allen

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