Energy : the annual report of the IEA illustrates a tipping point

This is a first. In 2016, the global investment in electricity have exceeded those carried out in the coal, oil and gas. This is one of the main lessons of the annual report of the international energy Agency (IEA). If the first remain stable at $ 718 billion, the latter, however, are experiencing significant declines. Investments in the oil and gas have dropped by 25% between 2015 and 2016, but 38% since 2014. And if we are expecting a slight rebound in 2017, the situation is expected to remain contrasted between the oil boom of shale in the u.s. and the gloom of the rest of the world.

As for coal, which has lost 20 GW of new capacity installed between 2015 and 2016, and where investments have dropped by a quarter in China, the world’s largest market, the situation is more black again. Except in India, where investments remain strong.

Stagnation of low-carbon energy, despite the boom of renewable

If the renewable energy (43% of the investments) have engaged, in 2016, 297 billion, or 3% less than in 2015, or 5 years ago, the new installed capacities are 50% higher, for a production that is expected to be 35% higher. Another sign of the times : 40% of the investments have been made on markets operating primarily by auction and by mutual agreement between producers and industrial customers. So far, the production of renewables is barely sufficient to offset the slowdown of investment decisions observed in the nuclear and hydropower. If 10 GW of new nuclear (a record for 15 years) came into service in 2016, only 3 GW have started to be constructed.

If the renewables don’t speed up even a little more to their deployment, this could adversely affect the stabilization of emissions of CO2, observed for the third consecutive year.

Networks, storage, and energy efficiency are attractive to investors

In addition to an amendment of the allocation of resources to the different sources of energy, several key sectors of the energy transition are attracting more and more investment : networks – which are modernising and digitising still more , and the storage and energy efficiency, deployed to 40% in the building sector. On all of these sectors, China plays the role of locomotive. With 21% of 1.700 billion spent on energy by 2016 (down 12%), it is ahead of the United States (16%), Europe (down 10%) and then India, which attracts 7% of investments more than in 2015.

Measured for the first time, investments in research and development were stable at $ 67 billion. They were divided equally between the public and private sectors, the first being more active in the low-carbon energy.

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