Renewables Global Status Report: Energy Transformation Continues Despite Economic Slowdown
Paris, 13 May 2009: The REN21 Renewables Global Status Report released
today shows that the fundamental transition of the world’s energy markets continues.
“This fourth edition of REN21’s renewable energy report comes in the
midst of an historic and global economic crisis,” says Mohamed El-Ashry,
chairman of REN21. Although the future is unclear, he says, “there is
much in the report for optimism.”
Global power capacity from new
renewable energy sources (excluding large hydro) reached 280,000
megawatts (MW) in 2008 – a 16 percent rise from the 240,000 MW in 2007
and nearly three times the capacity of the United States nuclear sector.
heating capacity increased by 15 percent to 145 gigawatts-thermal (GWth),
while biodiesel and ethanol production both increased by 34 percent.
More renewable energy than conventional power capacity was added in both
the European Union and United States for the first time ever.
recent growth of the sector has surpassed all predictions, even those
made by the industry itself,” says El-Ashry, adding that much of this
growth was due to more favourable policies amidst increasing concerns
about climate change and energy security.
During 2008, a number of
governments enacted new policies, and many countries set ambitious
targets. Today, at least 73 countries have renewable energy policy
targets, up from 66 at the end of 2007. In response to the financial
crisis, several governments have directed economic stimulus funding
towards the new green jobs the renewable energy sector can provide,
including the U.S. package that will invest $150 billion over ten years
in renewable energy.
Developing countries – particularly China and India
– are increasingly playing major roles in both the manufacture and
installation of renewable energy. For example, China’s total wind power capacity
doubled in 2008 for the fourth year running.
For several previous years,
the modern renewable energy industry has been viewed as a
“guaranteed-growth” sector, and even “crisis-proof” due to the global
trends underlying its formidable growth throughout the past decade. In
2008, renewable energy resisted the credit crunch more successfully than
many other sectors for much of the year and new investment reached $120 billion, up 16 percent over 2007. However, by the end of the year,
the impact of the crisis was beginning to show.
El-Ashry stresses that
“now is not the time to relax policies that support a global, expanding
renewable energy sector. By maintaining – and expanding – these policies,
governments, industry and society will reap substantial economic and
environmental rewards when the economic rebound requires energy markets
to meet rapidly increasing demand”.
Climate change and energy security,
two of the main drivers of the renewable energy sector, are still at
work. As the REN21 report shows, the renewable energy sector offers an
essential path for growth that can stimulate economic recovery and job
creation without the burden of increasing carbon emissions.
information contact Philippe Lempp at the REN21