The development and implementation of renewable energy infrastructure is needed to pursue efforts to reduce global carbon emissions. Global policies put in place by the United Nations, China and European Union, among others, have accelerated this process, but efforts toward mitigating climate change still heavily rely on the buy-in of a private sector that demands returns on investments for its participation.
Clearer future: Renewable energy consumption* is expected to increase 84% by 2050 and make up 18% of total energy use. Renewable energy made up 13% of global usage in 2018.
China, EM take lead: China has been the global leader in clean energy investment in recent years, investing mainly in solar energy and wind power. Developed regions, notably Europe, have seen a downward trend in investment.
Warm up: Private investment in energy infrastructure has favored non-renewables over the past decade; however, clean energy deals raised $32.6 billion of a total $45 billion in 2018. Deal counts have favored clean energy by more than 4-to-1.
Mixed bag: Private clean-energy returns have been better for investors in power generation projects rather than in the equipment manufacturing, such as fuel cells, while efficiency and resource-focused projects have also done well since 2010.
*Measured in quadrillion BTUs. Sources: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Cambridge Associates LLC, Preqin Ltd., Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (Ren21)