Australian investment in clean energy is slipping from its all-time high earlier this year, as new investments in the third quarter plung to levels last seen in 2016.

In the March quarter new investments almost touched $US3b — but have now sunk below $1USb, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s third quarter trends report.

But that’s not just due to the loss of the National Energy Guarantee and the entree of a Prime Minister who backs coal in spite of global warnings on climate change.

Globally new investment in clean energy fell in the third quarter of calendar 2018 to $US67.8b, down 6 per cent on the same period last year.

The Bloomberg report speculates that it’s possible new investment will end up matching that in 2017.

Brm brmm: electric cars save the day

The bright spot was Chinese electric vehicles.

Three Chinese companies sank $US1.9b between them into EVs.

There was a $1 billion initial public offering by NIO, a $585 million Series C venture capital round by Guangzhou Xiaopeng Motors and a $294 million pre-IPO round by Zhejiang Dianka Automobile.

The largest six venture capital and private equity deals of 2018 so far have all involved Chinese electric vehicle firms

“We’re seeing more companies raising funds as they look to make the jump from concept cars to high-volume manufacturing. But the market looks increasingly crowded and consolidation is likely,” said Colin McKerracher, head of advanced transport analysis at BNEF.


In terms of sector, the utility-scale projects raked in $US49.3b — down 15 per cent on last year — but small-scale solar investment rose 9 per cent to $US13.5b.

The biggest deal was a whopping $1.3b convertible note issued by waste-to-energy specialist China Everbright International.

China was yet again the largest investor in clean energy at $26.7 billion, marginally above the numbers for the same period of 2017.

But a cooling-off is happening in solar installations after action by policy makers to prevent redundant projects being built.

China is followed by Europe, with investment up 1 per cent to $US13.4b and the US, where investment plunged 20 per cent to $US11.4b.