28 July 2010

Renewables are Growing Fast: What's New?

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If you're looking for a comprehensive resource for renewable energy installation figures, look no further: The Renewables Global Status report was released last week, and it provides a great snapshot of where and how renewables are being developed around the world.

The report was released by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century, also known as REN21, and it provides an upbeat picture for renewables, despite the murky outlook for the global economy.

The report was originally released in 2005. Since then, solar PV has grown by 60 percent annually, wind by 27 percent, solar hot water by 19 percent, according to the authors. In 2009, renewables made up more than half of investment in global power generation. And that's with depressed oil and gas prices, lenders being very choosy about projects and individual consumers facing their own financial problems. Total investment in the industry was about $150 billion last year.

Other than the stellar investment figures during a slow year for most other industries, there's not much surprising in the 2009 report. The industry continues to move along – increasingly in developing countries – driven largely by robust public policy. Where policy lacks, investment does too.

Perhaps the most important trend is the role of China in the global renewable energy market. According to the report, the country produces about 40 precent of solar PV panels, 30 percent of wind turbines and 77 percent of solar hot water systems globally. The Chinese presence will impact investment decisions of companies as they work to compete with “The China Price,” and decide where to locate manufacturing facilities.

Many organizations like the International Energy Agency and the Energy Information Administration put together yearly figures on renewables. But none do it quite as comprehensively and clearly as the REN21 folks do. It's worth keeping around as a go-to resource for figures on the industry.

(Renewable Energy World)

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