(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

Download our latest ENERGY Data Brief

The Energy Data Brief offers key statistics designed to help energy market watchers anticipate and respond to developments in the energy sector as well as changes in related industries and investments.

Related Insights from Knoema

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

(16 August 2021) In order to limit the rise in global temperatures to the targets established in the Paris agreement, economies need to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The most developed countries, as well as the biggest emitters, are announcing targets designed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and even earlier. Achieving these goals, however, will require significantly restructuring of the energy sector to use carbon-free (renewable and nuclear) energy sources and low-carbon fuels (biofuels, hydrogen). This dashboard presents forecasts from the two...

2020: The Second Hottest Year on Earth

(9 February 2021) 2020 was the second hottest year on Earth since the 1880s, according to the 2020 Global Climate Report from The National Centers for Environmental Information. For the northern hemisphere, the 2020 land and ocean surface temperature was the highest ever recorded in the 141-year reporting history at +1.28°C (+2.30°F) above average. This was 0.06°C (0.11°F) higher than the previous record set in 2016. The southern hemisphere was hot last year as well, reporting the fifth highest land and ocean surface temperature on record.

IPCC: Climate Change Is Irreversible Over Thousands of Years

(10 August 2021) "Climate change is irreversible." This was perhaps the most significant conclusion of the most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report, a product of the combined efforts of 234 scientists from 66 countries, projects that in the coming decades climate changes will increase in all regions of the globe, with increasing heat waves, longer warm seasons, and shorter cold seasons. Sea level will continue to rise, and the likelihood of crossing the global temperature increase level of 1.5°C (relative to the preindustrial period,...

Carbon Majors' GHG Footprint Revealed

(10 June 2021) While 30% of the world's largest corporations have already made a commitment to reducing carbon emissions, there are other companies whose economic activity is inextricably linked to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and for whom reducing their carbon footprint is barely feasible — the so-called "carbon majors." In its 2020 Carbon Majors report, the Climate Accountability Institute estimates that between 1965 and 2018, 493 billion tons of greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalent), or 35% of global GHG emissions from fossil fuels and cement production, were emitted from the...