China Again Tops for Clean Energy Investment, Study Shows

  • Renewable power generation investment surges to $126 billion
  • Clean energy center of gravity shifting from north to south

China, the world’s biggest emitter of carbon pollution, continues to hold the top position as the best developing country in which to invest in clean energy in a study by Climatescope, a research project whose partners include Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the U.K. Department for International Development.

The nation scored highest for a second consecutive year in an analysis of 55 emerging market nations including South Africa, Uruguay and Kenya that mapped important progress in the areas of spending, capacity deployment, and policy development. Brazil and Chile followed China in the rankings, according to Climatescope scores, which were based on data from 2014.

“The year brought further proof that the clean energy center of gravity is shifting inexorably from ‘north’ to ‘south,’ from developed to developing countries,” according to the study’s executive summary.

In 2014, China added 35 gigawatts of new renewable power generating capacity -- greater than all the capacity online today in sub-Saharan Africa’s 49 nations combined, excluding South Africa and Nigeria -- and attracted $89 billion in all types of new clean energy capital, the report said.

The report comes as world leaders gather for climate talks in Paris where more than 190 countries will work on an agreement to set a global framework to combat climate change, including limits on fossil-fuel emissions that will apply for the first time to all nations. China has become a driving force for a possible deal in the French capital.

Capacity Additions

Among the 54 other nations in the Climatescope study, 15.5 gigawatts of new clean energy capacity was added in 2014, up 64 percent from a year earlier. Emerging markets are now installing capacity at twice the rate as wealthier Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development nations, according to the report.

For the first time, more than half of all new annual investment in clean energy projects went to emerging countries, the findings showed.

Among the 55 countries studied, new investment in renewable power generation surged to $126 billion in 2014, up 39 percent from 2013, the analysis found.