The UAE was the second-largest investor in the renewable energy sector in the Middle East and Africa last year, investing Dh8 billion ($2.2 billion), a stunning growth of 2,815 per cent over the previous year.
The UAE recorded the second highest growth after Rwanda's 8,665 per cent as the African country invested $400 million (Dh1.46 billion) in the renewable energy sector in 2017.
Regionally, Egypt took the lead with Dh9.5 billion ($2.6 billion) investments last year, achieving a growth of nearly 500 per cent over the previous year.
Jordan invested Dh4 billion ($1.1 billion), an increase of 26 per cent. While Morocco and South Africa reduced investments into the renewables by 48 per cent and 88 per cent to Dh734 million ($200 million) and Dh367 million ($100 million), respectively.
"The UAE's investment last year was more heavily concentrated. Two PV [photovoltaic] projects, the largest to go ahead anywhere in the world last year, reached financial close: the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum III installation, at 1.2GW and $899 million, and the Marubeni JinkoSolar and Adwea Sweihan plant, at 800MW and an estimated $968 million," said a Bloomberg New Energy Finance and UN Environment Programme report.
"Both projects have been financed by equity and debt from international development and commercial banks, and were won by international developers with keenly priced bids in 2016."
The MEA region, according to the report, saw asset finance increase by 48 per cent to Dh27.15 billion ($7.4 billion) last year.
"Some particular bright spots were the UAE, where finance jumped from almost nothing in 2016 to $2.1 billion in 2017, and Egypt, where it leapt from $400 million to $2.6 billion. Just four projects were asset-financed in the UAE last year but two of these were very large solar PV arrays, of 1.2GW and 800MW respectively, for the Marubeni JinkoSolar and Adwea Sweihan PV Plant and the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum III PV Plant," it noted.
Globally, investments in renewable energy edged up two per cent in 2017 to $279.8 billion, taking cumulative investment since 2010 to $2.2 trillion, and since 2004 to $2.9 trillion. The latest rise in capital outlays took place in a context of further falls in the costs of wind and solar that made it possible to buy megawatts of equipment more cheaply than ever before, it said.
A record 157GW of renewable power were commissioned in 2017, up from 143GW in 2016 and far out-stripping the 70GW of net fossil fuel generating capacity added last year. Solar alone accounted for 98GW, or 38 per cent of the net new power capacity coming on stream during 2017, it added.
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