The latest report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) has revealed that worldwide investment in energy has slipped by 8% in 2015. Total investment in the energy sector fell in 2015 was $1.8 trillion, which was £0.2 trillion lower than the amount invested in 2014.
With a spend of $315bn on energy, China was again the largest country by expenditure on energy; with a particular focus on low-carbon generation and record level investment in electricity networks. In the USA, money towards future energy supply fell by $75bn last year with low oil prices and cost deflation attributed to the fall. The fall in US investment represented half of total global decline in energy spending during 2015.
The IEA’s World Energy Investment 2016 report suggested that the decline in upstream oil and gas spending had outweighed steady investment in renewable sources, energy networks and efficiency projects. The report stated that renewable energy accounted for almost one-fifth of total energy spending last year at $313bn and was the largest source of power investments. Although expenditure on renewable power was flat from 2011 to 2015, power generation from newly installed capacity rose by one third which represented a sharp decline in the cost of wind turbines and solar photovoltaics. Conversely, the figure invested into global gas-fired power generation crashed by almost 40%.
Innovation in technology has seen a rise in funding for smart grids and storage, with the IEA are expecting to provide a critical role in integrating large volumes of wind and solar power. Battery storage investment was reported as growing ten times its level from 2010.