(27 September 2021) Reaching the decarbonization goals outlined in the Paris Agreement in order to create a sustainable future energy system will require huge investment by all major economies. This dashboard explores the energy transformation forecast through 2050 from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and uses data from IRENA and the International Energy Agency (IEA) to provide an overview of the current structure, amount, and sources of renewable energy (RE) investments. 

The Current Renewable Energy Investments section of this dashboard analyses total annual financial commitments in renewable energy. The dashboard also contains information on finance flows in certain RE projects, giving insight into the public investments existing trends by donor source, technology, and region.

  • IRENA's Transforming Energy Scenario, which involves rapid changes in energy balance, requires world investments in the energy system equaling more than US$110 trillion by mid-century. This scenario requires that at least 34% of the total needed investments, about $37 trillion, be spent on energy efficiency improvements, and 23%, or $24.9 trillion, on renewable energy development. 
  • In contrast, the Planned Energy Scenario from IRENA, with a slightly lower investment amount of US$94 trillion by 2050, envisions the greater part of the investment, $33.1 trillion, or 35%, would be distributed to energy supply, while $28.9 trillion, or 31%, would go to energy efficiency measures and only $12.2 trillion, or 13%, to renewables development.
  • The IEA's data, based on the World Energy Investment Report 2021, shows that currently the largest annual renewable electricity investments are in the Asia Pacific region, with $187 billion invested in 2021, followed by Europe ($75 billion), North America ($63 billion), and Latin America ($23 billion; excludes Mexico).
  • Another IRENA source shows that the largest shares of investments in renewable energy in 2019 were invested by China ($90.1 billion), the United States ($59.0 billion), and Europe ($58.4 billion). Ninety-four percent of the money invested in 2019 was allocated for wind and solar energy development, which received $142.7 and $141 billion, respectively.
  • As for RE finance flows, the main directions of money flow, according to IRENA, are towards hydropower and multiple renewables technologies, as well as toward wind and solar energy projects. The leading countries by finance flows in RE projects are Spain, France, India, Paraguay, and Mexico, with the total sum of finance flows in 2020 varying from $376 to $983 million.

See also: Scenarios for Energy Transition up to 2050: IEA and BP Projections

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