A systematic review of barriers to greenfield investment in decarbonisation solutions

Nnaemeka Vincent Emodi, Belinda Wade, Saphira Rekker, Chris Greig

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


To achieve climate goals, unprecedented amounts of new clean energy capacity need to be deployed at a rapid rate. Project finance is crucial to achieve clean energy (CE) capacity targets in order to rapidly decarbonise economies. However, current project finance commitments are far from sufficient, particularly in greenfield settings. To accelerate decarbonisation efforts therefore, it is essential to understand the barriers to CE financing in greenfield settings in order to guide public policy and to direct future research in the greenfield and cross-border investment literature. To date, few studies have focused on mobilising private capital to develop and build greenfield investments. This paper reviews recent literature to identify the barriers to CE investment focusing on greenfield renewable generation projects using a systematic quantitative review. A total of 45 studies published between 2010 and 2022 were included in the review. The results identified 36 barriers grouped into 7 categories: business/market; construction, technical and operational; environmental; financial; legal and ownership rights; policy and regulatory; and political and social barriers. Over the study period, environmental barriers declined the most, while construction, technical and operational, and political and social barrier categories increased significantly. Financial barriers were consistent throughout the years. Although these barriers are likely due to ineffective policy and immature CE investment in host countries, they provide insights for governments to boost greenfield investments and to develop local industry capacity and expertise. This paper also provides directions for future research and concludes with policy recommendations to address the barriers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112586
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


  • Barriers
  • Energy finance
  • Greenfield
  • Renewable energy
  • Systematic literature review


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