Investment in solar energy set to pass oil for first time, boosted largely by China: report

Fossil fuels are quickly taking a back seat to the global push for a green energy takeover.

Published: May 25, 2023 4:02pm

Updated: May 26, 2023 9:00am

Investment into solar energy will soon surpass that of oil production for the first time due to a massive boost from several economies including China, according to a report released on Thursday.

The report came from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and found that green energy overall is on track to reach $1.7 trillion worth of investments this year, “significantly outpacing spending on fossil fuels.” The $1.7 trillion estimate is out of an expected total of $2.8 trillion in energy spending worldwide for 2023. Of the sum amount, just over $1 trillion “is going to coal, gas and oil.”

Solar power is leading the way in the renewable energy sector and will soon have more money invested in it than oil production for the first time, and is projected by the IEA to bring in $1 billion a day at some point this year.

Further down in the report, the IEA credits China and “advanced economies” with nearly the entire “annual clean energy investment” from the last two years.

“Annual clean energy investment is expected to rise by 24% between 2021 and 2023,” the report says, “driven by renewables and electric vehicles, compared with a 15% rise in fossil fuel investment over the same period. But more than 90% of this increase comes from advanced economies and China.” 

Executive Director of the IEA Fatih Birol wrote in the report that “Clean energy is moving… faster than many people realise,” and that the ratio of fossil fuel spending versus clean energy spending has quickly risen over the last half-decade.

“For every dollar invested in fossil fuels, about 1.7 dollars are now going into clean energy,” he said. “Five years ago, this ratio was one-to-one.”

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