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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

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.

Early voting eclipses 2016 total with 12 days until election

People stand in line to vote early in Fairfax, Virginia in September. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Americans have cast more than 47.1 million ballots in the 2020 presidential election, surpassing the total early-vote count for 2016 with 12 days left until Election Day, according to a Washington Post analysis of voting data.

Why it matters: The election is already underway, as many states have expanded early and mail-in voting options because of the coronavirus pandemic.

What to expect from the final debate of the 2020 election

Trump and Biden at the first debate. Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Image

Watch for President Trump to address Joe Biden as “the big guy” or “the chairman” at tonight's debate as a way of dramatizing the Hunter Biden emails. Hunter's former business partner Tony Bobulinski is expected to be a Trump debate guest.

The big picture: Trump's advisers universally view the first debate as a catastrophe — evidenced by a sharp plunge in Trump’s public and (more convincingly for them) private polling immediately following the debate.

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