Renewable Energy Accelerates Meteoric Rise
Washington, D.C.—The renewable energy industry is stepping up its meteoric rise into the mainstream of the energy sector, according to the REN21 Renewables 2007 Global Status Report. Renewable energy production capacities are growing rapidly as a result of more countries enacting far-reaching policies.
Prepared by the Renewable Energy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) (www.ren21.net) in collaboration with the Worldwatch Institute (www.worldwatch.org), the Renewables 2007 Global Status Report paints an encouraging picture of rapidly expanding renewable energy markets, policies, industries, and rural applications around the world. In 2007, global wind generating capacity is estimated to have increased 28 percent, while grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity rose 52 percent.
“So much has happened in the renewable energy sector during the past five years that the perceptions of some politicians and energy-sector analysts lag far behind the reality of where the renewables industry is today,” says Mohamed El-Ashry, Chair of REN21.
Renowned researcher Dr. Eric Martinot led an international team of 140 researchers and contributors from both developed and developing countries to produce the report. He says renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, and small-scale hydropower offer countries the means to improve their energy security and spur economic development.
Citing the report, Martinot says the renewable energy sector now accounts for 2.4 million jobs globally, and has doubled electric generating capacity since 2004, to 240 gigawatts. More than 65 countries now have national goals for accelerating the use of renewable energy and are enacting far-reaching policies to meet those goals. Multilateral agencies and private investors alike are integrating renewable energy into their mainstream portfolios, capturing the interest of the largest global companies.
Worldwatch President Chris Flavin says the report shows that renewable energy is poised to make a significant contribution to meeting energy needs and reducing the growth in carbon dioxide emissions in the years immediately ahead. “The science is telling us we need to substantially reduce emissions now, but this will only happen with even stronger policies to accelerate the growth of clean energy,” he says.
El-Ashry emphasizes that many of the trends described in the Renewables 2007 Global Status Report are the result of leadership and actions launched since the major renewable energy conference held in Bonn, Germany, in 2004. “This leadership has never been more important, as renewable energy has now reached the top of the international policy agenda under the United Nations and the G8,” said El-Ashry.
Commenting on the dramatic rise of renewables, Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said: “The findings come in the wake of UNEP’s annual gathering of environment ministers in Monaco last week. It is clear from ministers in Monaco and from reports like REN21 that we are beginning to see elements of an emerging Green Economy, fueled by the existing climate change agreements and the prospect of even deeper and more decisive emissions reductions post 2012.”
The Renewables 2007 Global Status Report is being released ahead of the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC), taking place March 4–6 in Washington, D.C. WIREC will be the third such international conference following those in Bonn in 2004 and Beijing in 2005.