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Report reveals mixed results for clean energy development in emerging nations

In 2018, clean energy investment across emerging nations was depressed and overall deployment rates of clean energy technologies was flat year-on-year, according to Emerging Markets Outlook 2019, an annual Climatescope survey conducted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. At the same time, coal-fired generation surged in the 104 markets assessed, BloombergNEF said.

According to the report, in developing nations, 201 GW of new power generating capacity was added to the grid, with just over half (107 GW) of the total being clean energy (renewables excluding large hydro, above 50 MW). In breakdown, a combined 12 GW of small hydro, biomass and geothermal were installed in 2018. Solar led the way in new installed capacity, at 66 GW, followed by wind at 29 GW. Fossil fuel capacity accounted for a third of all new capacity added in developing nations in 2018. And the report says large hydro and nuclear together account for 12% of the capacity installed.

However, the report points out that while over half of the new capacity is clean, with wind and solar’s lower capacity factors than coal or gas, less than half of the actual generation from these new plants will be zero carbon.

China predominated, with two-thirds of all developing nation clean energy capacity installed in that country in 2018. India scored at the top of the Climatescope list of major clean energy players, installing 14 GW of wind and solar in 2018.

With regard to baseload generation, the report says it varies significantly by region, with hydro providing 16% of total power generation in non-EU European nations. Large hydro is the main power provider to Latin American countries, accounting for 46% of all power produced in 2018. For capacity additions, new large hydro installations jumped from 4% to 8% of the total from 2017 to 2018.

In terms of investment, new clean energy financing for emerging markets totaled $133 billion, down from the peak of $169 billion in 2017. China accounted for more than two-thirds of the emerging markets total. While the vast majority of clean energy capital deployed in emerging markets came from local sources, foreign direct investment supporting clean energy set a new record in 2018, hitting $24.4 billion.

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