A report from The International Energy Agency said investment in renewable power, which accounted for two-thirds of power generation spending, dropped 7 percent in 2017.
Recent policy changes in China linked to support for the deployment of solar PV raise the risk of a slowdown in investment this year, IEA said.
Combined global investment in renewables and energy efficiency declined by 3 percent in 2017 and there is a risk that it will slow further this year.
As China accounts for more than 40 percent of global investment in solar PV, its policy changes have global implications. This confirms past IEA reports that have highlighted the critical importance of policies in driving investment in renewable energy.
While energy efficiency showed some of the strongest expansion in 2017, it was not enough to offset the decline in renewables. Moreover, efficiency investment growth has weakened in the past year as policy activity showed signs of slowing down.
“Such a decline in global investment for renewables and energy efficiency combined is worrying,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director.
“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, it is disappointing to find that it might be falling this year,” Fatih Birol said.
The share of fossil fuels in energy supply investment rose last year for the first time since 2014, as spending in oil and gas increased modestly. Meanwhile, retirements of nuclear power plants exceeded new construction starts as investment in the sector declined to its lowest level in five years in 2017.
Global energy investment totalled $1.8 trillion in 2017, a 2 percent decline in real terms from the previous year, according to the World Energy Investment 2018 report. More than $750 billion went to the electricity sector while $715 billion was spent on oil and gas supply globally.
State-backed investments are accounting for a rising share of global energy investment, as state-owned enterprises have remained more resilient in oil and gas and thermal power compared with private actors.
The share of global energy investment driven by state-owned enterprises increased over the past five years to over 40 percent in 2017.