POWER Notebook: Investment in Renewables Down in 1H2019

Investments in renewable energy projects slowed in the first half of 2019, primarily due to a 39% year-over-year drop in China, the world’s largest renewables market, according to data published July 10 by BloombergNEF (BNEF).

BNEF said investments in China dropped to $28.8 billion, the lowest figure for any six-month period since 2013. China is moving away from government-set tariffs for solar and wind capacity and instead moving to auctions for renewable power. BNEF said global investment in renewables was $117.6 billion in the first half of this year, off 14% compared to the January-June 2018 period.

Justin Wu, head of Asia-Pacific for BNEF, in a news release said: “The slowdown in investment in China is real, but the figures for first-half 2019 probably overstate its severity. We expect a nationwide solar auction happening now to lead to a rush of new PV project financings. We could also see several big deals in offshore wind in the second half.”

BNEF reported that three projects have highlighted investment in renewables this year, in two relatively new markets. About $4.2 billion was invested in a 950-MW solar thermal and photovoltaic complex in Dubai. Another $5.7 billion was invested in two offshore Taiwan wind farms, with a combined 1,540 MW of power generation capacity. BNEF said the Dubai project—

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum IV—is the biggest financing ever in the solar sector, involving 10 Chinese, Gulf and Western banks, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Saudi-based developer ACWA Power, and equity partner Silk Road Fund of China.

BNEF said investment dropped in the U.S. and Europe along with China, with the U.S. off 6% to $23.6 billion, and Europe down 4% to $22.2 billion.

Poland Seeking $30 Billion in Foreign Investment for Nuclear Plants

Krzysztof Tchórzewski, Poland’s energy minister, on July 10 said the country will need about $30 billion from foreign investors to help build the country’s first nuclear power plant. Tchórzewski earlier this year said the country wants a nuclear unit with generation capacity of at least 1 GW in service by 2033, as part of a plant to build reactors with 6 GW to 9 GW of capacity by 2043.

Most of Poland’s current power generation is from coal. Poland, like other countries concerned about reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from power plants, is looking for cleaner energy solutions.

“Investors are needed for around $30 billion, however this money would be provided over 20 years,” Tchórzewski told reporters Wednesday in Warsaw while discussing the country’s nuclear plans. The energy minister said the Polish government estimates the cost of its nuclear power program at about $60 billion. Tchórzewski said Poland is actively pursuing foreign investors in addition to the U.S., with which the country has a memorandum on energy cooperation.

Interest in nuclear power is increasing outside of the U.S. The Czech Republic this week unveiled its plan to expand its nuclear power fleet.

Swiss Group Forms JV with Sol Systems to Develop Solar Projects

Capital Dynamics, a Switzerland-based global asset manager, in a statement July 9 said it is investing in Sol Systems, a Washington, D.C.-based solar development company. Capital in its statement said the partnership is looking to develop more than 100 MW of solar power projects in the commercial and industrial space, ranging from small, rooftop installations to more than 10-MW projects at educational institutions.

The joint venture (JV) includes Capital Dynamics’ Clean Energy Infrastructure team and will be known as Sol Customer Solutions. Financial details of the JV were not disclosed. The JV will focus on investments in distributed power generation (DG).

Tim Short, managing director at Capital Dynamics, said in a statement: “We are excited to partner with Sol Systems to acquire a significant portfolio of DG projects while working alongside a premier development platform in the space. The large-scale DG market is rapidly evolving and this investment is a critical part of our broad focus on this important sector in the market. We are confident Sol Customer Solutions is well positioned to serve this expanding customer base.”

Sol Systems in the past decade has financed and helped develop more than 850 MW of photovoltaic solar projects.

POWER staff (@POWERmagazine).