The International Energy Agency said in a report the unprecedented investment slump follows the most severe plunge in energy demand since the second world war.
The IEA said the decline in investment is “staggering in both its scale and swiftness” and will impact every major sector, from fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal to renewable sources including wind and solar power.
The IEA said the decline in investment in areas such as clean energy technology could undermine the transition to renewable, sustainable sources of energy.
It said nuclear investment is set to decline given some impact to development schedules, but long associated lead times make spending less volatile.
In 2019 nuclear power investment edged up again, as several projects started construction in 2018 and four additional ones did so in 2019. This was an important driver of growth in Europe given the two reactors of Hinkley Point that started construction during the period, the IEA said.
Final investment decisions (FIDs) in the main sources of large-scale dispatchable power – coal, gas, nuclear and hydropower – fell in 2019 to 86 GW, an 8% reduction compared with 2018 and almost 60% lower than in 2010. This is the lowest level in a decade.
FIDs for nuclear decreased in 2019, with only four new plants starting construction, the biggest one the second reactor of Hinkley Point in the UK.
The IEA said that outside of a few markets with strong policy support, construction starts for nuclear projects continue to lag, with persistent project development challenges in some markets, and in some cases local opposition.