$1tr green investment matches fossil fuels for first time

26th January 2023 By: Bloomberg

For the first time, the world invested as much money into replacing fossil fuels as it spent on producing oil, gas and coal, according to an analysis from BloombergNEF.

Global investments in the clean energy transition hit $1.1-trillion in 2022, roughly equal to the amount invested in fossil fuel production, according to the research firm’s “Energy Transition Investment Trends 2023” report. Never before has the amount spent on switching to renewable power, electric cars and new energy sources like hydrogen topped $1-trillion.

While the amount represents a 31% jump from 2021, it’s still just a fraction of what’s needed to slash greenhouse gas emissions and fight global warming. BNEF estimates annual investments in the transition must triple for the rest of this decade to give the world a shot at reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

Solar and wind power accounted for the biggest chunk of 2022 investments, reaching $495-billion, a 17% increase from the previous year. But electric vehicles came in close behind, with $466-billion, and the amount invested in them worldwide is growing far faster, at 54%. Nearly half of all global energy transition investments — $546-billion — were in China, while the US came in second at $141-billion. (Had BNEF counted the European Union as a single entity, it would have ranked second, with $180-billion.)

The $1.1-trillion covers money invested in deploying clean-energy technologies, according to BNEF. It does not include $274 billion spent worldwide last year on expanding and strengthening power grids, $79-billion invested in clean-energy supply chains and manufacturing or $119-billion in equity financing raised by clean-tech companies. Added together, the amount invested in the transition rises to about $1.6 trillion.

That clean power investments essentially tied those in fossil fuels is notable considering investments in those older, polluting energy sources rose in 2022. Driven by high fuel prices, worldwide investment in the sector climbed a substantial $214 billion, according to BNEF.