• China world’s largest absolute investor in renewable energies, while also financing foreign coal projects

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

China is the world’s largest investor in renewable energies, according to the United Nation’s REN21 advisory body’s latest report. The Asian giant invested US$91.2 billion (€80.5 billion) in new renewable power generation capacity in 2018, ahead of the EU’s US$61.2 billion (€54.0 billion) and the US$48.5 billion (€42.8 billion) spent in the USA. With those being absolute amounts, the spend per capita has the reverse order, the USA spending US$148.9/person, the EU US$119.4/person, and China US$65.8 per person. Despite the strong showing from China, it has nevertheless been criticized for supporting coal-fired power plant projects in countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam, with the Overseas Development Institute estimating total financial outlay of US$9.5 billion (€8.4 billion) per year to those countries. The G20 countries as a whole have, according to the ODI, more than tripled the subsidies to coal-fired power plants in recent years, a curious fact when a range of international finance institutions (though not all G20 countries) have set policies not to fund such projects in recent years.