World Now Wasting $1 Trillion Or More Per Year Investing in Useless “Renewables”


by Francis Menton at

The world is currently filled with government-, corporate-, and billionaire-funded organizations advocating for a transformation of the energy system to “clean” and “abundant” renewables. In my post a week ago, I described the International Energy Agency — a consortium of governments (now 40+ of them, including all the major ones) originally formed in the 70s to combat the OPEC oil embargo of the time, but since transformed into a “a center of advocacy for elimination of fossil fuels from the world’s energy supply.” For today, here’s another one you may or may not have heard of — the Energy Institute. EI is a London-based advocacy organization set up under the UK charity laws. It appears to receive its funding largely from corporations and wealthy individuals. On its home page, it describes its mission as “creating a better energy future for our members and society by accelerating a just global energy transition to net zero.”

Let’s review the latest from these two groups.

In May 2023, the IEA issued a big Report (141 pages) with the title “World Energy Investment 2023.” They also put out a separate summary document called “Overview and Key Findings.” The main point of this Report is to document and celebrate the tremendous swing over the past decade in world energy investment, away fossil fuels and into “renewables,” particularly wind and solar. From the summary document:

The recovery from the slump caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the response to the global energy crisis have provided a significant boost to clean energy investment. Comparing our estimates for 2023 with the data for 2021, annual clean energy investment has risen much faster than investment in fossil fuels over this period (24% vs 15%). . . . We estimate that around USD 2.8 trillion will be invested in energy in 2023. More than USD 1.7 trillion is going to clean energy, including renewable power, nuclear, grids, storage, low-emission fuels, efficiency improvements and end-use renewables and electrification. The remainder, slightly over USD 1 trillion, is going to unabated fossil fuel supply and power. . . .

IEA provides the following chart to illustrate how investment in fossil fuels and related infrastructure has shrunk from the majority of world energy investment in 2015, to a rapidly diminishing minority in 2023:

To be fair, not all of the $1.7 trillion of estimated 2023 investment in what they call “clean energy” is in wind turbines and solar panels. Other charts make clear that the $1.7 trillion figure includes other things like grids, storage, and even nuclear. How much 2023 investment is going into just the wind and solar facilities for the electric power sector? This chart would put that figure at close to $700 billion:

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