BRICS bank hands $811m in green energy loans

New Development Bank issues first tranche of renewable energy loans in emerging economies, but 2016 outlook for renewables industry downgraded on Q1 results

(Pic: US Energy/Flickr)


The New Development Bank, launched by top emerging economies in 2014, will lend US$811 million to clean energy projects in India, China, Brazil and South Africa.

It is the first release of funds by the Shanghai-based body, also known as the “BRICS bank”.

India’s Canara Bank has received a $250 million loan, $75 million of which is destined to deliver 500 megawatts of renewables, according to Bloomberg.

Brazil’s BNDES national development bank was the largest beneficiary with a $300 million loan, while a Chinese rooftop solar project received $81 million.

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The loans will come as a welcome boost to the clean energy sector, which saw investment fall in the first quarter of 2016, according to data released by analysts at BNEF.

It credited the slowdown to an $11.8 billion fall in Chinese investments, a 50% drop from the last quarter on 2015, while Brazil and South Africa reported a slow start to the year.

Stronger performers included India, which saw $1.9 billion of new clean energy finance, and the EU, largely due to significant wind projects in the UK and Norway.

“Based on Q1 figures, 2016 is going to be hard-pressed to beat last year’s record investment total,” said Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board at BNEF.

“The fundamentals behind global clean energy investment remain strong, with our latest research showing solar PV and wind again reducing their costs and competing strongly despite lower coal, oil and gas prices.

“But China accounted for more than one third of all new financings last year, so what happens there in 2016 will be crucial to the world outturn.”

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Wind power is likely to drive global clean energy investment flows through to 2020, predicted the Global Wind Energy Council in its annual report.

It sees global wind capacity doubling in the next five years, driven by leading emerging economies and a new wave of projects in Africa and Latin America.

“Overall, we estimate that investment in wind will total $3.6 trillion between 2014 and 2040, or more than one third of total investment in renewable power capacity,” said Fatih Birol, head of the Paris-based International Energy Agency.

“There will also have to be another $7.1 trillion of investment to expand and enhance transmission and distribution networks.”

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