Investment in renewable energy increased in 2014

Good for the environment and for the climate – but also good for the economy: renewable energy resources are by now a significant economic factor in Germany. In 2014 around 18.8 billion euros were invested in the construction of installations for tapping renewable energy.

infograph showing how investment in renewable energy increased in 2014© Data: ZSW, Graph: BMWi

Germany is setting a good example in increasing the use of renewable energy sources and is proving that converting the energy supply system to solar, wind and co. can also be an economic success story. Recent figures confirm this: in 2014 a total of 18.8 billion euros was invested in installations that make it possible to tap renewable energy resources – above all in the construction of new wind power turbines.

Compared with the previous year, investment in renewable energy increased again in 2014, after having declined in 2011 to 2013: around three billion euros more were invested in this sector in 2014 than in the previous year (2013: 15.7 billion euros). The increase is attributable entirely to the boom in wind energy on shore and at sea. Compared to the previous year, which was already a very strong year for the wind industry, investment in wind power nearly doubled to 12.3 billion euros in 2014. With a share of just on two thirds, wind thus dominates overall investment in the renewables. This is reflected especially in the figures for new construction: in all, 6,182 megawatts of new wind power generating capacity was installed last year. That means that more than one seventh of the entire installed capacity available in this sector at the end of 2014 (40.5 gigawatts) had been added in the course of the year! By contrast, investment in photovoltaic installations dropped by nearly half to 2.3 billion euros in 2014, in line with the slower growth in the solar sector.

The 18.8 billion euros comprise mainly spending on the construction of new installations and to a lesser extent expenditure on extending and upgrading existing units, for example bringing an old hydroelectric power plant back on line. Apart from investment by companies in the energy supply sector, the figure also includes investment by industry, SMEs, trading companies and private households.

By contrast with investment in renewable energy installations, revenue from the operation of such facilities (including biofuels) declined slightly in 2014 compared to the previous year, from 14.4 to 14.1 billion euros. The reasons for this were lower demand for heating thanks to the mild winter and a decline in the price of biofuels.