2023 World Energy Investment Report: Solar Investment Overtakes Oil for the First Time
Jun 18,2023 | Daxtromn power
Recently, the International Energy Agency released the "2023 World Energy Investment Report", which comprehensively summarizes the global new energy investment situation in 2022, and provides a preliminary interpretation of the investment prospects in 2023. The report expects total global energy investment to reach $2.8 trillion this year, surpassing the $2.6 trillion in 2022. Clean energy investment is higher than fossil fuels. Clean energy investment will reach $1.7 trillion this year, while fossil fuel investment will hit $1.1 trillion.
Global investment in clean energy versus fossil fuels, 2015-2023e Source: International Energy Agency
For the first time, the investment in the solar energy industry will surpass that of oil. It is estimated that US$380 billion will be invested in the solar energy industry in 2023, which means that more than US$1 billion will be invested in the solar energy field every day. The investment in oil production in 2023 is expected to be US$370 billion.
2013VS2023e Comparison of global oil and solar investment Source: International Energy Agency
From a macro perspective, the growth of global clean energy investment is mainly driven by the following three aspects:
• Fossil fuel prices are high and volatile, while clean energy costs are gradually falling;
• Countries closely combine climate issues with energy security goals and give new energy policy support;
• Countries are undergoing industrial transformation and upgrading, seeking economic growth points in clean energy.
The report pointed out that in recent years, the cost of clean energy has generally shown a continuous downward trend, which is the most critical factor for the growth of clean energy investment. However, prices of some key clean energy technologies will increase in 2021 and 2022, mainly due to higher prices of key raw materials, semiconductors and some materials. Solar PV modules, for example, are about 20% more expensive in early 2022 than they were a year ago. The report predicts that the cost pressure of clean energy will gradually ease in 2023, and as the technology continues to mature, it is an inevitable trend that the cost will continue to decline in the future.
2014-2022 Clean Energy Equipment and Technology Price Source: International Energy Agency
The growth of global clean energy investment is specifically reflected in the two directions of renewable energy and electric vehicles. Low-emission electricity technologies, led by solar energy, are expected to account for nearly 90% of investment in power generation. Consumer demand for electric vehicles is booming. Global sales of electric vehicles have already grown significantly in 2022 and are expected to grow by a third this year, with sales reaching $130 billion.
2015-2023e clean energy investment over the years Source: International Energy Agency
Annual investment in clean energy is expected to grow by 24% between 2021 and 2023, compared with a 15% increase in fossil fuel investment over the same period, with more than 90% of the growth coming from advanced economies and China. Since 2021, clean energy investment growth in advanced economies and China has outstripped the total clean energy investment in the rest of the world.
The report notes that clean energy investment is growing slowly in many developing economies, and the number of people without access to modern energy services remains high. If they do not accelerate the transition to clean energy, global energy will face a new development boundary. Green bonds and other sustainable financial instruments are critical to scaling up and accelerating the clean energy transition in developing economies.
Annual clean energy investment growth in some countries and regions from 2019 to 2023e Source: International Energy Agency
Although the World Energy Investment Report 2023 regards 2023 as a turning point for new energy investment, the world is still a long way from achieving net-zero emissions by 2030.
High fuel prices have brought substantial revenue growth to traditional suppliers. Global coal demand reaches an all-time high in 2022. Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry spends less than 5% of its upstream spending on low-emission alternatives such as clean electricity, clean fuels, and carbon capture technologies in 2022, and is expected to grow another 7% in 2023, recovering. to the 2019 level.
The report states that current fossil fuel investment spending is more than double the level needed to achieve net-zero emissions in 2050 and six times the level needed to achieve net-zero emissions in 2030.
The cost of financing is a key variable in clean energy investments. Clean energy investment requires high expenditure in the early stage, while fossil fuel investment has a higher short-term rate of return. In fact, as time goes by, the borrowing cost and debt burden of fossil fuel investment will continue to rise. The lower operating costs of clean energy will offset the high upfront investment.
According to the International Energy Agency's Energy Technology Outlook, clean energy will require cumulative investments of about $1.2 trillion by 2030 to reach the current goal of net-zero emissions.