World Energy Investment 2019

Investing in our energy future

"Current investment trends show the need for bolder decisions required to make the energy system more sustainable. Government leadership is critical to reduce risks for investors in the emerging sectors that urgently need more capital to get the world on the right track."
Fatih Birol, Executive Director, IEA


A better understanding of the risks faced by investors requires timely and authoritative data and analysis, which the IEA is providing with World Energy Investment 2019.

This year's report finds that global energy investment stabilised in 2018, ending three consecutive years of decline, as capital spending on oil, gas and coal supply bounced back while investment stalled for energy efficiency and renewables - clear signals of a growing mismatch between current trends and the paths to meeting the Paris Agreement and other sustainable development goals.

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Key findings


Global energy investment stabilised after 3 years of decline

Energy investment remained at USD 1.85 trillion in 2018 while a rise in fossil fuel supply investment offset lower power and stable efficiency spend. Despite the shift, power was the largest sector for the third year in a row.

	Fossil-fuel power	Nuclear	Renewable power	Networks	Battery storage	Upstream	Downstream, midstream & refining	Buildings	Transport	Industry	Coal supply	Renewables for transport and heat
Power sector	127	47	304	293	4							
Oil & gas supply						477	249					
Energy efficiency								139	63	38		
Coal supply											80	
Renewables for transport and heat												25
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The largest investment growth was in the United States

In the past two years, energy investment in the United States has been catching up with China, mainly due to oil and gas supply and electricity networks, while China’s power sector spending has fallen.

	Power sector	Fossil fuel supply	Energy efficiency	Renewables for transport/heat
United States	132.53	134.55	51	1.53
China	221.62	105.55	50.79	14.47
United States	134.16	173.06	42	1.91
China	204.93	101.85	61.15	13.01
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Showing a preference for projects that deliver more quickly

In upstream oil and gas, and power generation, industry is bringing capacity to market 20% faster than at the start of the decade. In a changing energy system, industry is seeking to better manage capital at risk.

	Deepwater	Shallow water	Onshore
2010-14	4.384352541	5.705610212	3.656937988
2015-16	2.800123923	3.729958935	3.062576425
2017-18	2.93366315	2.8949384	2.632020411
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	All generation	Thermal power	Renewable power
2010	3.471485769	3.923590348	2.595763207
2011	3.465989555	4.127225985	2.439074359
2012	3.407382676	4.13106182	2.41947466
2013	3.47509654	4.107320712	2.725469433
2014	3.327107166	3.898645571	2.592651661
2015	3.290006405	4.150749707	2.330691368
2016	3.222476749	4.447093987	2.182190318
2017	2.789290001	3.803011423	1.996048022
2018	2.775973309	4.141663753	1.859943831
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Energy supply investment needs to rise, whatever the scenario

Today’s capital allocation would need to shift rapidly towards cleaner sources and electricity networks in order to align with the Sustainable Development Scenario and the Paris Agreement. Under the New Policies Scenario, fuel supply and power each make up approximately 50% of average annual investment - in the Sustainable Development Scenario, power makes up 65%.

	Oil supply	Gas supply	Coal supply	Biofuels for transport	Fossil fuel power	Nuclear	Renewable power	Electricity networks & battery storage
2018	465.10725	261.27461	79.95203	5.97902	126.563	47.2903	304.358	297.37617
Annual average 2025-30 (NPS)	518.450832	365.776986	54.8984978	15.236808	90.2643	48.99062	353.8844	405.626786
Annual average 2025-30 (SDS)	325.8771608	302.88843	27.0095646	37.3255	94.13792	75.66674	606.1346	463.729076
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Coal power investments are down, but the global fleet is still growing

Investment decisions for coal power are down 80% this decade, but the fleet continued to grow in Asia in 2018. Final investment decisions for unabated coal plants would need to quickly phase out to meet sustainability goals.

	Developing Asia	Rest of World
2010	92.369645	8.8576
2011	67.374625	10.249
2012	70.8671	7.2388
2013	70.85538	5.7216
2014	63.8847	10.0459
2015	81.40493	6.7522
2016	32.8111	6.3789
2017	28.8884	3.3438
2018	16.4917	5.6725
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	Developing Asia	Rest of World
2010	55.15320689	6.899127941
2011	83.26156271	0.765839941
2012	70.19259271	-8.763092059
2013	62.48509271	-15.66507206
2014	69.93839271	-2.358412059
2015	85.06059271	-12.17492206
2016	70.30859271	-8.368272059
2017	51.83598824	-4.441172059
2018	33.77358824	-25.79717206
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Public energy RD&D spending is not expanding enough

While public energy RD&D spending rose modestly in 2018, led by the United States and China, most countries are not spending more of their economic output on energy research.

Spending on energy RD&D by national governments, and as a share of GDP
	China	North America	Europe	Japan, Korea, Australia, NZ	Rest of World
2014	5.966989877	7.547775506	7.527492643	4.138506383	1.006059562
2015	5.87181526	7.209450478	7.667920831	3.579945878	0.992224958
2016	5.970079829	7.29344991	7.422245288	3.276126039	0.859678273
2017	7.177523207	7.284914605	7.860619145	3.17401596	0.893139804
2018E	8.073101041	8.165888626	7.33697499	3.26537399	0.917990649
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	China	North America	Europe	Japan, Korea, Australia, NZ	All major economies
2014	0.079333169	0.038375598	0.042474586	0.057169265	0.047166902
2015	0.071271056	0.036016369	0.042403861	0.048831217	0.04425682
2016	0.067185506	0.035622359	0.041093106	0.043875814	0.042385828
2017	0.074958693	0.034933651	0.043272424	0.041568634	0.043931048
2018E	0.078577376	0.03820294	0.03962855	0.042205928	0.044851713
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