Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions, Finance - March 4, 2022
Energy Transition Investments Hit Record Level in 2021
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, 2021 was a record-breaking year for investments in the energy transition and the deployment of renewable power, battery storage, and sustainable transportation, according to the 2022 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook report published by BloombergNEF (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE).
Global private investment soared to $755 billion in 2021 - the U.S. set a record at $105 billion along with the federal government making an unprecedented $80 billion pledge to support energy transition with the enactment of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which looks to leverage significant private sector investment.
In 2021, companies signed contracts to procure a record 17 gigawatts of renewable capacity. In addition, a total of 351 companies have now pledged to procure 100% clean energy, with 65 new companies joining RE100 in 2021. These market signals set the stage for continued increases in clean energy in 2022 and beyond.
This growth was fueled by strong consumer demand, unprecedented injection of new capital into companies, technologies, and projects, and a series of supportive new policies.
“As the world grapples with the impacts of climate change and disruption of energy markets, the momentum gained by the clean energy transition in 2021 is a beacon of hope, pointing the way forward,” said Lisa Jacobson, BCSE President. “I am confident that the upward trends we saw in 2021 will continue and that long-term investment in the clean energy portfolio of energy efficiency, natural gas, and renewable energy will yield powerful dividends in terms of energy security, economic benefit to our country, and emission reductions.”
Energy productivity or the ratio of energy consumed in the U.S. compared to the economy’s overall gross domestic product improved by 1.3% and the share of U.S. electricity demand met by natural gas and renewable energy increased to 59%.
One area that did not see improvement in 2021 was U.S. GHG emissions. As Covid-19 restrictions lifted in 2021, total CO2 emissions jumped 5.8% year-on-year. Thanks to investments already made in low and zero-carbon technologies, total U.S. emissions finished 2021 4.4% below 2019 levels and 15% below 2005 levels.