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Expand chart
Adapted from IEA World Energy Investment report, 2018; Note: Electricity investment includes generation and networks. Does not include energy efficiency investment; Chart: Axios Visuals

Global investment in energy supplies dipped slightly last year, the third annual decline amid slowing growth of coal, hydro and nuclear power, which outpaced a boost in oil-and-gas, the International Energy Agency said.

By the numbers: Combined investment in oil-and-gas and electricity supply declined 2% to $1.8 trillion, a figure that represents 1.9% of global GDP, the Paris-based agency said in its annual report on spending trends and levels.

Why it matters

The report provides a snapshot of how the global energy system is evolving: Investments in electricity sector nonetheless exceeded investments oil-and-gas supply for the second time, "reflecting the ongoing electrification of the world’s economy and supported by robust investment in networks and renewable power," the agency said.

However, the gap has gotten narrower as oil-and-gas industry spending has rebounded somewhat from the sharp drops that followed the oil price collapse a few years ago.

Why IEA is worried

The growth of energy efficiency investments slowed, while total renewables investment fell by 7% and could drop more this year, the IEA said.

  • The report calls this slowdown in these low-carbon investments worrisome from a climate change standpoint because it's happening as investments in new nuclear generations are falling sharply, and are at their lowest levels in five years.
Quoted

IEA head Fatih Birol, in a statement alongside the report, called the efficiency and renewables trends a concern.

“This could threaten the expansion of clean energy needed to meet energy security, climate and clean-air goals. While we would need this investment to go up rapidly, it is disappointing to find that it might be falling this year."
One level deeper

A couple of other data points in the 253-page report that caught my eye...

Shale: The report shows how major integrated oil companies — think the Exxons and Chevrons of the world — are increasingly investing in shale and tight oil, the stuff tapped via fracking.

  • This year, tapping those resources is slated to account for 18% of their exploration and production spending, which is two to three times higher than it was in 2012-2016.

Carbon capture: The report underscores the challenges facing commercial deployment of technology to trap and store carbon emissions from industrial and power facilities.

  • From 2007-2017, $28 billion in public funding was provided for capital and operational support worldwide, but just 15% of that has been spent.
"Clearly, the design of public support programmes and associated policies has generally not made the commercial conditions sufficiently attractive for project developers to take advantage of available public funds and put their own money at risk."
— The report states

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
45 mins ago - Podcasts

Net neutrality on the line under Biden

Federal net neutrality rules are back on the table in the Biden administration, after being nixed by Trump, but now might be complicated by the debate over social media companies' behavior.

Axios Re:Cap digs into why net neutrality matters and what comes next with Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge and host of the Decoder podcast.

House grants waiver for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to lead Pentagon

Defense Secretary nominee Lloyd Austin Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted 326-78 on Thursday to grant retired Gen. Lloyd Austin a waiver to lead the Pentagon, clearing the way for the Senate to confirm President Biden's nominee for defense secretary as early as this week.

Why it matters: Austin's nomination received pushback from some lawmakers, including Democrats, who cited a law that requires officers be out of the military for at least seven years before taking the job — a statute intended to reinforce the tradition of civilian control of the Pentagon.

Amanda Gorman steals the show on Inauguration Day

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Axios Visuals

Poet Amanda Gorman by far generated the most average interactions on social media on Inauguration Day, according to exclusive data from NewsWhip.

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