A new global investment record for clean energy was set in 2015 while Australia struggled, according to the latest analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

The BNEF figures show that US$329 billion was invested in clean energy during 2015, up nearly 30 per cent on the year before and beating the previous record set in 2011.

China led all starters with investment of US$110.5 billion, while the United States was second with US$56 billion. Renewable energy costs continue to fall, enabling more to be built for less than in previous years.

Investment Down Under stalled last year due to the uncertainty created by the ongoing review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET). Although this was resolved in mid-2015, negative public statements by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott continued to unsettle domestic and international investors in the sector. Confidence is returning under Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

According to BNEF analysis published in The Sydney Morning Herald, just $15 million was invested in major projects last year that were not also supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), underlining the important role the government body plays in the industry.  

Clean Energy Council spokesperson Mark Bretherton said  Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his Ministers seem committed to restoring confidence to renewable energy following several tough years.

“In the meantime, institutions such as the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and ARENA are helping to bridge the finance gap for major renewable energy developers,” Mr Bretherton said.

“Australia has some of the best renewable energy resources in the world, and while the industry recognises that meeting the Renewable Energy Target (RET) will be a challenge, we are up to the task.   

“Negotiating contracts to buy the renewable energy generated by major projects simply takes time, and we are expecting more projects to proceed in the first two quarters of 2016.”