The U.S. renewable energy industry doesn’t seem to take much notice of President Donald Trump’s views on green energy and climate change as investments surged to a record last year.
New investments were buoyed by wind and solar companies rushing to qualify for federal tax credits being scaled back this year. A total of $55.5 billion were spent in the sector last year, an increase of 28%, second only to China and beating Europe, according to research by BloombergNEF.
“It’s notable that in the third year of the Trump presidency, which has not been particularly supportive of renewables, U.S. clean energy investment set a new record by a country mile,” said Ethan Zindler, head of Americas for BNEF.
Global money flowing into the industry totaled $282.2 billion last year, up 1% from 2018. Despite the modest rise in investment, falling costs of wind and solar power ensured a healthy increase in capacity to 180 gigawatts, an annual increase of 13%.
China maintained its global dominance even as investments fell 8% to $83.4 billion, or the lowest since 2013. European renewable energy investments also slid, down 7% to $54.3 billion.
Brazil, which also has a climate-skeptic President in Jair Bolsonaro, boosted investments by 74% to $6.5 billion.
[Akshat Rathi, Jeremy Hodges]