Global investment in renewable energy capacity in 2019 surpassed the previous year’s record total, says a new report – with the help of five major deals.

Data recorded by BloombergNEF (BNEF), the media giant’s market research arm, shows that over the past 12 months financing for clean energy projects reached $282.2bn – a $2bn rise on 2018’s figures.

BNEF’s report, titled State of Clean Energy Investment, highlighted a late surge in offshore wind power as a key reason behind the 1% increase.

Financing for projects at sea took capacity investment in that sector to $29.9bn, up 19% from 2018, and $2bn more than in the previous record year of 2016.

The overall renewable energy capacity investment figures for 2019 in onshore and offshore wind led the way with $138.2bn globally, up 6% from the previous year, according to BNEF.

Although solar was not too far behind at $131.1bn, capacity investment took a 3% hit over the past 12 months.

The report claims falling capital costs in wind and solar meant the two combined are likely to have had around 180 gigawatts (GW) added last year, a rise of about 20GW on 2018.

Here are the top five renewable energy projects financed in 2019.


Top five renewable energy deals in 2019

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park fourth phase

The Noor Energy 1 solar project is a 950 megawatts (MW) hybrid concentrated solar power (CSP) and photovoltaic (PV) solar power station to be developed as part of the fourth phase development of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, UAE.

The $3.9bn project encompasses 700MW from CSP technologies and 250MW of PV power generation and is the world’s biggest single-site CSP plant.

Renewable energy deals 2019
Solar capacity investment took a 3% hit in 2019 compared to the previous year (Credit: Christoffer Riemer)

ACWA Power, a power generation company based in Saudi Arabia, is developing the project in partnership with Shanghai Electric Group Company (SEGC), the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), and Spanish company Abengoa.

Expected to be fully operational by the end of 2020, the Noor Energy 1 solar power complex will contribute to the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to achieve 75% of Dubai’s power generation from clean energy sources by 2050.


Neart na Gaoithe

Neart na Gaoithe (NnG), meaning “strength of the wind” in Gaelic, is an offshore wind farm in the North Sea, located off Scotland’s east coast and 15.5km from the county of Fife.

In 2018, French utility company EDF Renewables acquired the rights to the $3.42bn project, which Irish energy firm ESB has taken a 50% stake in.

The wind farm has a 450MW capacity and will supply enough low-carbon electricity for about 375,000 homes.

NnG has an expected 25-year lifetime and will offset more than 400,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year, with offshore construction set to start in June 2020 and full commissioning expected to be completed in 2023.


Yunlin Offshore Wind Farm

Yunlin offshore wind farm is a 640MW project set to be developed 8km off the coast of Yunlin County, Taiwan.

German wind farm developer Wpd holds a 73% stake in YunNeng Wind Power, the company responsible for the development and operation of the project, with the remaining 27% owned by the Starwind Offshore consortium.

Clir Renewables
Yunlin is set to provide clean electricity to more than 450,000 homes, while offsetting 916,000 tonnes of CO2 a year (Credit: Flickr/Phil Hollman)

The Taiwanese government awarded a tender to build and operate the Wpd wind farm, which gained a financial closure of $3bn in May 2019.

Offshore construction works on the project are expected to start in March this year, with commissioning scheduled for December 2021.

On completion, Yunlin will be one of the biggest wind farms in Taiwan and is set to provide clean electricity to more than 450,000 homes, while offsetting 916,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.


Saint Nazaire

The Saint-Nazaire project, based 20km off the coast of the Guerande peninsula in western France, will be the country’s first ever offshore wind farm.

Owned by EDF Renewables and Canadian multinational energy firm Enbridge, the 480MW wind farm received $2.5bn in funding last year.

Production is expected to commence by spring this year, with the project set to be completed in the summer of 2022.


Formosa II

Located off the coast of Miaoli County, the Formosa 2 will be one of the largest offshore wind projects in Taiwan upon completion in late 2021.

The $2bn project is a joint venture between Australian investment bank and financial services firm Macquarie Group and Taiwanese manufacturer Swancor Renewables.

The 376MW wind farm will contribute to the Taiwanese government’s efforts to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuel energy, having set a goal of generating 20% of its total power from renewable sources by 2025.