Australia jumps up global leaderboard for energy investment

Rendered illustration of renewable energy in a lightbulb (finalists)
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Australia has been named among the top 10 nations investing in clean energy, with more than $11.3 billion spent on renewables in 2017, according to new data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

The Clean Energy Investment in Australia report shows Australia’s investment jumped by 150 per cent last year, skyrocketing Australia to seventh position on the world leaderboard.

The annual figures from Bloomberg, based on its world-leading database of projects and deals, show global investment in renewable energy and energy-smart technologies reached $333.5 billion last year, up 3 per cent from a revised $324.6 billion in 2016, and only 7 per cent short of the record figure of $360.3 billion, reached in 2015.

“The 2017 total is all the more remarkable when you consider that capital costs for the leading technology – solar – continue to fall sharply,” BNEF chief executive Jon Moore said.

“Typical utility-scale PV systems were about 25% cheaper per megawatt last year than they were two years earlier.”

Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said it was no surprise Australia is among the world leaders when it comes to the rollout of clean energy, with states and territory government’s leading the charge.

“Australia is one of the sunniest and windiest nations in the world, so when it comes to solar and wind energy – it’s a winning combination,” she said.

“Australian states have embraced renewables, with South Australia, Queensland and the ACT leading the charge. 2017 alone was also a record-breaking year for rooftop solar in Australia, with enough energy to power almost 250,000 homes (1GW) brought online around the country.”

The investment scorecard shows clean energy investment jumped significantly thanks to the renewable energy target and households desperate to take control of rising electricity prices.

The annual report warns of the significant risk to Australia’s clean energy sector under the proposed National Energy Guarantee (NEG), highlighting investment could roll backwards by 2020.

“As 2018 gets underway, credible and serious federal climate and energy policy is crucial to encourage investment in renewables and slash our rising pollution levels. “Unfortunately the proposed NEG could do exactly the opposite, with studies showing negligible renewable energy growth under the scheme.

“The critical window of opportunity to act to tackle climate change is rapidly closing.”