Renewable energy maintained robust investment during the first four months of the year as the sector largely avoided the FDI slump caused by the Covid-19 crisis. 

Foreign investors announced 174 new renewable energy projects – mainly solar and wind farms – between January and April, slightly down from 181 projects during the same period in 2019, according to preliminary data from FT-owned investment monitor fDi Markets.   

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Despite the 3.9% year-on-year drop, the sector’s performance stands in contrast to a collapse in foreign investment in most other areas of the economy. 

Other key FDI sectors suffered much steeper declines between January and April. Healthcare slumped 89.5%; leisure and entertainment fell 80%;  oil and gas dropped 48.8% and business services fell 28.8% compared with the same period a year earlier. 

Overall, foreign investors announced 3,838 projects in the first four months of this year, down 45% from the 6,967 projects during the same period in 2019, fDi Markets data shows.

The fDi Index, a gauge of investor sentiment, hit new lows in April. 

Eastern Europe surge

Despite the tough market conditions caused by the pandemic, the number of new renewable energy projects doubled – from 13 to 26 projects – in eastern Europe between January and April from the same period of 2019, fDi Markets show. 

FDI projects in green energy also increased in North America (+9.5%) and Latin America and the Caribbean (+5.6%). 

However,  green energy investment fell in Africa (-25%), western Europe (-19.3%) and Asia-Pacific (-16.7%).

Spanish infrastructure group Acciona announced the biggest green energy project during the period, a A$1.96bn (€1.19bn), 1,026MW wind farm in Queensland, Australia, in March. 

Oil companies were among the leading investors in renewable energy projects in the period, fDi Markets figures show. 

France’s Total entered the offshore wind business with a 96MW project in the UK; Finn Neste Oil unveiled plans to build a 2.6MW high-temperature electrolyser at its production facility in Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Lightsource BP, the green energy arm of the British oil and gas company, announced a $250m, 260MW solar farm in Texas, and another $47m, 43.8MW solar farm in Pennsylvania and Dutch Shell announced plans to invest $90m in solar plans in Minas Gerais, Brazil.