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China praised for renewable energy investment

Updated: 2016-09-18 09:23

    The International Energy Agency (IEA) on Wednesday launched here its first detailed report of global energy investment, with China singled out for praise.

    In the first detailed analysis of investment across the global energy system, the IEA reported that global energy investment fell by 8 percent in 2015, with a drop in oil and gas upstream spending outweighing continued robust investment in renewable energies, electricity networks and energy efficiency.

    Total investment in the energy sector reached 1.8 trillion US dollars in 2015, down from 2 trillion US dollars in 2014, according to the IEA's World Energy Investment 2016 report.

    The new annual report provides a comprehensive and detailed picture of the current investment landscape across fuels, technologies and countries.

    It shows that the energy system is undergoing a broad reorientation toward low-carbon energy and efficiency but investment in key clean energy technologies needs to be further ramped up to put the world economy on track for climate stabilisation.

    Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, told Xinhua in an interview: "China's investment is mainly in the power sector, but China also becomes the largest investor for renewable energies across the world. As such it is a very complimentary number; it shows the Chinese commitment towards climate change and tackling air pollution.

    "There is a political commitment and this is the answer in terms of putting the money in low carbon technologies. Renewable energy, energy efficiency but also it is nuclear power as well."

    With energy supply spending of 315 billion US dollars, China was the world's largest energy investor, thanks to robust efforts in building up low-carbon generation and electricity networks, as well as implementing energy efficiency policies.

    Birol said: "China became last year the largest energy investor and this is mainly coming from the renewable energies followed by other sources. China is the largest investor of solar, largest investor in terms of wind technology and also a major investor in terms of hydro power. For renewable energies China is the champion energy investor."

    Investment in the US's energy supply declined to about 280 billion US dollars, falling nearly 75 billion US dollars because of low oil prices and cost deflation, representing half of the total decline in global energy spending.

    The Middle East and Russia emerged as the most resilient regions to spending cuts, thanks respectively to lower production costs and currency movements. As a result, national oil companies accounted for 44 percent of overall upstream investments, an all-time high.

    Renewable energy investments of 313 billion US dollars accounted for nearly a fifth of total energy spending last year, establishing renewable energies as the largest source of power investment.

    While spending on renewable power capacity was flat between 2011 and 2015, electricity generation from the new capacity rose by one third, reflecting the steep cost declines in wind turbines and solar photo voltaic. The investment in renewable power capacity in 2015 generates more than enough to cover global electricity demand growth.

    Birol said: "These changes have significance for energy security and climate change. Especially for low carbon technologies they show me that government policies can work to provide direction for investment in the markets but much more is needed to meet our climate goals."

    He added: "After 2015 and 2016 we may see three years in a row, oil investments are declining. We have never seen, in the history of oil, that the investments for oil have declined three years in a row. We expect there will be a decline in 2017."


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