For the second year in a row both the US and Europe added more power capacity from renewable sources than convention sources in 2009.
Renewable energy expansion counted for 60% of newly installed capacity in Europe and more than 50% in the US. Experts even believe that this year or the next, the world as a whole will add more capacity from renewable than conventional sources.
Two reports were released that last week that looked at the trends in the growth of the planet’s green sector. It’s not just the US and Europe that are growing either, with many other nations included in the report.
“Favorable policies now in place in more than 100 countries have played a critical role in the strength of global renewable energy investments recently,” said Mohamed El-Ashry, Chair of Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), one of the authors of the reports. “For the upward trend of renewable energy growth to continue, policy efforts now need to be taken to the next level and encourage a massive scale up of renewable technologies.”
Despite a 7% decrease in investment in core clean energy which dropped 2009’s investments to $162 billion, the reports did see a record investment in wind power, and if the spending on solar water heaters as well as total installation costs for rooftop solar PV were both included then total investment in 2009 has actually increased.
China saw a 53% increase in investments in core clean energy, adding a total of 37 gigawatts of renewable power capacity, more than any other country and surpassing the US as the country with the greatest investment in clean energy.
“The sustainable energy investment story of 2009 was one of resilience, frustration and determination,” said UN Under-Secretary-General Achim Steiner. “Resilience to the financial downturn that was hitting all sectors of the global economy and frustration that, while the UN climate convention meeting in Copenhagen was not the big breakdown that might have occurred, neither was it the big breakthrough so many had hoped for. Yet there was determination on the part of many industry actors and governments, especially in rapidly developing economies, to transform the financial and economic crisis into an opportunity for greener growth.”
“There remains however a serious gap between the ambition and the science in terms of where the world needs to be in 2020 to avoid dangerous climate change,” added Steiner. “But what this five years of research underlines is that this gap is not unbridgeable. Indeed, renewable energy is consistently and persistently bucking the trends and can play its part in realizing a low carbon, resource efficient Green Economy if government policy sends ever harder market signals to investors.”
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