Geothermal a mere 1% in global investment into renewables in 2015

Aerial view of Ngatamariki plant, New Zealand in March 2013 (source: Mighty River Power)
Alexander Richter 3 Mar 2016

Global investment into clean energy technology continues to increase with a total annual investment volume of $367 billion in 2015, with a mere 1% of that being investment into geothermal projects.

In a report published last month, Clean Energy Canada reported on global investment into renewable energy in 2015. With a record $367 billion invested in renewable power there clearly is some momentum supporting the commitment by the Paris agreement on climate change.

Interesting is that “2015 marked the first year in which more money was invested in clean energy in developing countries than in developed ones”, so the report.

In a statement, Michael Liebreich, founder and chairman of the advisory board at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said that “The electricity system is shifting to clean. Despite the change in oil and gas prices there is going to be a substantial buildout of renewable energy that is likely to be an order of magnitude larger than the buildout of coal and gas.”

Looking at the total annual clean energy investment, one can clearly see the large role solar and wind investment play.

In 2015 global investment in renewable energy by technology

  • Solar $161 billion
  • Wind $110 billion
  • Large Hydro $42 billion
  • Biomass & Waste $41 billion
  • Small Hydro $6 billion
  • Geothermal $4 billion
  • Marine $3 billion

This essentially means that geothermal investment accounts for roughly 1% (one percent) of total investment into renewable energy. One can argue why that’s the case, and I guess it continues to be the conundrum on exploration risk, incentive schemes and up-front capital required. But one of the most crucial elements seems to be the dropping cost for utility-scale solar PV, with a price drop of 82% since 2009, and wind energy with a price drop of 61% since 2009.


But looking at the report there are clearly some things of interest, among others the descriptions on countries and new markets to watch. For 2016, renewable energy is expected to increase in markets of interest for geothermal, among them Mexico with an expected investment volume of $4.2 billion and Chile with $3.5 billion.

Source: Clean Energy Canada (pdf)