Renewable energy sector supplied 16pc of all global energy in 2010


14 Jul 2011

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The renewable energy sector supplied an estimated 16pc of the world’s energy and 20pc of its electricity last year and has continued to perform well despite the economic slowdown, cuts in incentives, and low natural-gas prices, according to a new United Nations-backed report.

The renewable energy sector supplied an estimated 16pc of the world’s energy and 20pc of its electricity last year and has continued to perform well despite the economic slowdown, cuts in incentives, and low natural-gas prices, according to a new United Nations-backed report.

The Renewables 21: Global Status Report, which was commissioned by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), reveals that renewable capacity now makes up around a quarter of total global power-generating capacity. Including all hydropower, where an estimated 30GW was added last year, the renewable sector accounted for about 50pc of total added power-generating capacity in 2010.

Global solar power generation doubled last year compared to the previous year, as a result of government incentive programmes and the continued fall in the price of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, the report said.

Germany installed more PV in 2010 than the entire world added in 2009. And the PV markets in Japan and the United States almost doubled last year compared to the previous year.

The report reveals that globally, wind power added the most new capacity, followed by hydropower and solar PV, but for the first time ever, Europe added more PV than wind capacity.

Renewable energy policies continue to be the main driver of the renewable energy growth, according to the report. By early this year, at least 119 countries had some type of policy target or renewable support policy at the national level, more than doubling from 55 countries in early 2005. More than half of those countries are in the developing world.

The report said investment last year in renewables reached a record US$211bn, up nearly a third from US$160bn invested in 2009, and more than five times the amount invested in 2004. Funds invested in renewable energy companies, and in utility-scale generation and biofuel projects increased to US$143bn, with developing countries surpassing developed economies for the first time.

“The global performance of renewable energy despite headwinds has been a positive constant in turbulent times," said Mohamed El-Ashry, chairman of REN21’s steering committee. "Today, more people than ever before derive energy from renewables as capacity continues to grow, prices continue to fall, and shares of global energy from renewable energy continue to increase.

“The increased renewable energy activity in developing countries highlighted in this year’s report is very encouraging, since most of the future growth in energy demand is expected to occur in developing countries," he added. "More and more of the world’s people are gaining access to energy services through renewables, not only to meet their basic needs, but also to enable them to develop economically."

Article is courtesy of Businessandleadership.com

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