South Africa sustained its top 10 ranking as an attractive renewable-energy investment destination in the Climatescope 2015 index, confirming its status as a “globally significant investment destination”, having attracted over $11-billion in clean-energy investment since 2012.
The country ranked fourth in an index comprising 55 emerging markets and came in behind only China, Brazil and Chile and ahead of India and Mexico.
Compiled yearly by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) on behalf of the UK and US governments, as well as development agencies, South Africa ranked third in the 2014 version.
BNEF Africa analyst Nico Tyabji told Engineering News Online that the slight decline related mainly to delays in closing deals in 2014, which had subsequently been concluded in 2015.
He also indicated that the decline in investment levels in 2014 had been nearly fully compensated for by higher deployment levels during the year. By the end of 2014, South Africa had 1.2 GW of operational solar capacity and 1.1 GW of onshore wind projects.
Tyabji said South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme had also been globally significant in putting renewables auctions “on the map”. He said more and more countries were including price discovery bidding processes in their renewables frameworks, which at one point had been dominated by long-term feed-in-tariff structures.
Africa more generally had also become an increasingly important renewables market, with Kenya and Uganda also featuring in the top 10 of the index, at sixth and ninth respectively.
Nigeria, meanwhile, climbed several places to twelfth, recording the only other financing outside of Kenya and South Africa above $100-million in 2014, for 40 MW of small hydro.
Tyabji said the East African market, in particular, was making positive strides, with Uganda’s innovative ‘GET FiT’ scheme expected to add some 150 MW of renewable capacity by 2018.
However, the headline story of Climatescope 2015 was that, for the first time, over half of all new annual investment into clean energy power generating projects globally went toward projects in emerging markets.
New investment in renewables rose 39% in 2014 in the 55 countries to a record yearly high of $126-billion, with a total of 50.4 GW of clean capacity built, marking a 21% uptick from the prior year.
“The results were substantially bolstered by the remarkable growth in China, which added 35 GW of new renewable power generating capacity all on its own – more than the 2014 clean energy build in the US, UK, and France combined,” the index shows.