Jul 14, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Offshore wind surge powers renewable capacity despite coronavirus

Reproduced from BloombergNEF; Chart: Axios Visuals 
Reproduced from BloombergNEF; Chart: Axios Visuals 

A big rise in offshore wind power deals pushed global investment in new renewable power capacity in the first half of 2020 above the same period last year, new data shows.

Why it matters: It signals how the renewables sector as a whole has proven rather resilient to the pandemic, despite some declines in onshore wind and solar investment, BloombergNEF analysts said.

  • An International Energy Agency analysis in May showed COVID-19 isn't battering renewables as hard as oil-and-gas and other energy industries.
  • However, it's still taking a toll in the form of project slowdowns and layoffs.

By the numbers: Final investment decisions for offshore wind projects totaled $35 billion in the first half of 2020, which is over 300% more than the same period in 2019.

  • "The first half of this year saw investment decisions made on 28 sea-based wind farms, including the largest ever, the 1.5GW Vattenfall Hollandse Zuid array off the coast of the Netherlands, costing an estimated $3.9 billion," it states.

The big picture: Overall investment in new renewable power capacity (excluding large dams) totaled $132.4 billion in the first half of 2020, which is up 5% from the same period last year.

  • But onshore wind investment fell 21% and solar investment fell 12%.

Don't forget: The cost of renewables is declining, which means that each dollar invested brings more bang for the buck — so absolute investment levels do not tell the whole story.

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